HomeMedals and TokensNational Bicentennial Medal (1976) - Gold and Silver Formats

National Bicentennial Medal (1976) – Gold and Silver Formats

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

Representatives Wright Patman, Chair of the House Banking and Currency Committee, William B. Wendall, ranking member, and Leonor K. Sullivan, Chair of the House Banking Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, introduced H.R. 7987 on May 3, 1971.

Public Law 92-228.
Public Law 92-228.

The bill called for the production of a “national medal… [to] be struck commemorating the year 1776 and its significance to American independence. In addition, the law also authorized the the Mint to produce of a maximum of “thirteen medals each of a different design”. These were to be struck to market different milestone historical events in American history.

Numismatist David Ganz wrote in the February 1976 issue of The Numismatist that a 3″ platinum medal was considered, as gold was illegal to own with limited exceptions (numismatics being one of them). This was changed in 1974, after the gold ownership restriction was lifted.

United States Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro designed the medal. He also produced the popular John Wayne Congressional Gold Medal (1980) a few years later.

The obverse features the Statue of Liberty, bookmarked by the dual date 1776 1976. The inscription LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS is broken out below the date, split between the two sides of the obverse. Fifty stars wrap around the rim to represent the 50 states of the Union.

The reverse features the Great Seal of the United States. AMERICAN REVOLUTION BICENTENNIAL wraps around above, WE THE PEOPLE below. The two inscriptions are separated by the star logo of the Bicentennial Celebration.

A rare seven-piece complete set of National Bicentennial Medals. This set was sold by Heritage Auctions on February 15, 2008 for $12,650. Image: Heritage Auctions.
A rare seven-piece complete set of National Bicentennial Medals. This set was sold by Heritage Auctions on February 15, 2008 for $12,650. Image: Heritage Auctions.

The medal was offered in seven configurations and four sizes. The medals went on sale on January 1, 1976, and were offered through July 1976. They were sold through ARBA, PO Box 1976, San Francisco, CA, 94101.

3″ Gold National Bicentennial Medal (1976)

National Bicentennial Medal, 76.2mm gold version. Image: Stack's Bowers.
National Bicentennial Medal, 76.2mm gold version. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

Swoger 521Aa. 3” gold medal was made to order and individually numbered. Issue price of $4,000 each. (approximately $22,000 in today’s dollars). 424 sold. Diameter 76.2mm. .900 gold.

The late coin dealer Richard Nachbar took a keen interest in the 3″ Gold National Bicentennial Medal in the 2010s, believing that most of them had been melted down and that they were scarcer than the market realized.

Auction Appearances by Serial Number

  • NGC MS65 #6833917-001: Heritage Auctions, January 11, 2024, Lot 4449 – $40,800. #46.
  • Uncirculated: “The Dr. Kurt Peters Collection”, Heritage Auctions, June 3, 2005, Lot 7290 – $12,650. #66.
  • Uncirculated: Stack’s Bowers, November 13, 2007, Lot 736 – $10,350. #104.
  • PCGS MS67 #28574764: As Uncirculated. “Charles A. Wharton Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, February 2014, Lot 56 – $28,200. As PCGS MS67 #28574764. The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation; Stack’s Bowers, June 14, 2022, Lot 1061 – $43,200. #115.
  • Uncirculated: Heritage Auctions, September 24, 2010, Lot 4975 – $24,150. #141.
  • NGC MS69 #3727558-001: Stack’s Bowers, March 18, 2020, Lot 280 – $28,800. #172.
  • NGC MS65 #4208617-001: Stack’s Bowers, February 27, 2019, Lot 114 – $20,400; Heritage Auctions, February 8, 2024, Lot 3199 – $38,400. #182.
  • Uncirculated: “The Baton Rouge Bassett Collection,” Heritage Auctions, May 3, 2023, Lot 3395 – $37,200. #199.
  • NGC PF68 #4054229-001: “Carril Valparaiso Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, August 1, 2017, Lot 43 – $22,325. #248.
  • NGC PF64 #3752508-001: Heritage Auctions, July 6, 2017, Lot 3342 – $23,500.
  • PCGS MS65 #28781087: Stack’s Bowers, March 2015, Lot 1 – $23,500. #270.
  • Uncirculated: Stack’s Bowers, March 24, 2021, Lot 1213 – $28,800. #303.
  • NGC MS63 #2679910-002: Heritage Auctions, June 10, 2016, Lot 98148 – $21,756.30. #316.
  • Uncirculated: Bowers and Merena, November-December 2001, Lot 5461; Stack’s Bowers, March 14, 2006, Lot 2197 – $9,200. #340.
  • Uncirculated: “The Q. David Bowers Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, June 18, 2020, Lot 108 – $24,000. #349.
  • Uncirculated: Heritage Auctions, September 17, 2008, Lot 28217 – $10,350. #367.
  • Uncirculated: Heritage Auctions, August 18, 2021, Lot 3539 – $32,400. The number is not specified.

Smaller Format National Bicentennial Medals

1 5/16″ Gold

1 5/16” gold medal. Cost $400. 5,383 sold.

.906″ Gold

.906” gold medal. Cost $100. 30,239 sold.

3″ Silver

3” silver medals cost $150. 9,425 sold.

1.5″ Silver

1 ½” silver medal. 209,885 sold at $25 each.

1.5″ Gold-Plated Bronze

1 ½” gold plated bronze. 47,150 sold at $15 each.

1.5″ Bronze

1 ½” bronze medal. 426,459 sold at $5 each.

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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