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HomeMedals and TokensStack’s Bowers to Offer Seldom Seen Bicentennial Gold Medal at ANA National...

Stack’s Bowers to Offer Seldom Seen Bicentennial Gold Medal at ANA National Money Show Auction

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek …..

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is the official auctioneer of the 2015 American Numismatic Association (ANA) National Money Show and will conduct an auction featuring more than 1,440 lots that covers a range of U.S. and colonial coins, patterns, private issues, and medals.

The auction kicks off at 6:00 pm Pacific Standard Time (PST) (9:00 pm Eastern) and begins with a seemingly innocuous but curiously seldom-seen modern gold medal issued in 1976 by the United States Mint.

1976 National Bicentennial Medal

Stack’s Bowers to Offer Seldom Seen Bicentennial Gold Medal at ANA National Money Show AuctionLot 1. Gold 76.2mm. 455.49 grams. Swoger-521a. Numbered 270 on Edge. PCGS MS-65

Weighing in at 13.18 troy ounces, this large 1976 National Bicentennial Gold Medal was a costly, much-neglected, and subsequently maligned official medallic offering from the U.S. Mint. Accounts differ on the final mintage of the piece (some read 423, others 424). Compare that to the .415 troy ounce version of the same design–of which 16,181 were sold–and there’s no question that this 1976 Frank Gasparro work was born scarce.

Scarcer still are the apparent few that survive. For whatever reason (some speculate the run on gold in the 1980s led many to be melted), this large-format medal appears infrequently on the market. We’ve tracked down a handful of examples but hardly enough to determine a market price for the piece.

In 2008, Heritage offered one, which it described as rare. That medal changed hands for its value in gold at the time.

It wasn’t until 2014, at the February Stack’s Americana Sale in New York City, that we found another public transaction. That example was graded MS-67 by PCGS and came out of the Charles A. Wharton Collection. At the time of that sale, the medal contained approximately $17,305 USD worth of gold. The medal brought $32,400 $28,200 with buyer’s premium – a sizable numismatic premium the second go around.

What the present issue brings is anybody’s guess. Our hunch is $24,000 to $26,000, if it sells. PCGS graded it MS-65.

The design itself does not inspire; Gasparro’s art rarely did.

But it’s competent in a dated sort of way, and reminiscent of the many bicentennial gewgaws and knickknacks marketed at the time – a time that feels ever more distant as we enter the latter half of the second decade of the 21st century.

Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker
Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker
Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker have been contributing authors on CoinWeek since 2012. They also wrote the monthly "Market Whimsy" column and various feature articles for The Numismatist and the book 100 Greatest Modern World Coins (2020) for Whitman Publishing.

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  1. The MS-67 example from the Charles A. Wharton Collection did NOT realize $32,400. That is an error in the Stack’s Bowers archives. The SBG online archives report TWO specimens as selling in their February 2014 Americana sale:

    Lot number 56, described as “Swoger-52IAa. No. 115. MS-67 (PCGS),” which hammered at $24,000 and thus realized $28,200 in total, including the 17.5% buyer’s fee; and also

    Lot number 329722, described as “Swoger-52IAa. No. 115. MS-67 (PCGS),” which is listed as having realized $32,400 as mentioned in your article. The listing for Lot 329722 is in error. (There were not over 300,000 lots in that sale, and the realized price of $32,400 would mean that it had hammered at $27,574.47 — which would be a rather peculiar cut bid!)


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