By CoinWeek News Staff…
In a year when two Nobel Prize medals have been sold at auction, it is perhaps no surprise that another prestigious award has now found its way to market.
On Thursday, December 4, a Laetare medal–given annually by the University of Notre Dame to honor American Catholic groups and individuals for their contributions to society and the church–was placed for sale on eBay.
According to the University, located in South Bend, Indiana, the medal is the oldest and most prestigious award given to American Catholics. First presented in 1883, it was created by Notre Dame professor James Edwards as an American version of the papal Golden Rose. He chose the name “Laetare” because the prize is awarded on and serves to celebrate Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent.
Past winners of the Laetare medal include President John F. Kennedy, Sister Helen Prejean of Dead Man Walking fame, 1990 Physiology or Medicine Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Murray and actor Martin Sheen, among many others.
As far as is known, no other Laetare award has ever been sold.
The medal itself consists of 14-karat solid gold. The obverse features the inscriptions MAGNA EST VERITAS ET PRAEVALEBIT (“Great is the truth and it shall prevail’; a common misreading of 1 Esdras 4:41 in the Vulgate Bible) and RIDE, SI SAPIS (“Laugh, if you are wise” – a quote from the Roman poet Martial, Epigrams II, 41). The reverse says PRESENTED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME and includes the name of the recipient and the year it was presented.
It is housed in the original glass case and outer box.
Canada-based seller coindude2006 has marked out the name and most of the year in pictures he posted to the auction website and will not disclose the original owner until the medal has been won or purchased.
The asking price is $11,850. Click here or below to view the posting.