Harding inaugural medal in silver known by fewer than 10 examples

Austerity measures result in cancellation of presidential activities
By , Coin World
Published : 01/14/16
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Official presidential inaugural medals dated 1921 featuring a portrait of Warren G. Harding are among the few collectibles recognizing the president's installation since Harding himself requested that all inaugural activities be canceled in an austere money-saving measure during the depression of 1920 to 1921 following World War I.

Still, the official Inaugural Committee wanted to keep the medallic tradition alive and commissioned R. Harris & Company to strike several 70-millimeter gold, silver and bronze versions of designs by Darrell C. Crain. Only two or three gold examples are reported to have been produced, fewer than 10 silver examples and fewer than 60 of the bronze medal.

H. Jospeh Levine, at Presidential Coin & Antique in Virginia, suggests that six silver Harding medals are extant.

When author Neil MacNeil published his 1977 book The President's Medal: 1789-1977, that author suggested only four examples of the silver medal were known to exist. Numismatist Rex Stark from Rex Stark Americana in Gardner, Mass., says that, since the publication of MacNeil's book, several other examples of the silver medal have surfaced, with no more than eight to 10 examples total extant today.

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Stark is offering a choice About Uncirculated example of the silver version for $30,000 in his Fixed-Price List No. 82.

Records indicate that examples of the gold medal were given to President Harding and Vice President Calvin Coolidge, but whether Edward B. McLean, as chairman of the Inaugural Committee, also received a gold medal is not known.

For more information, contact Stark by telephone at 978-630-3237 or via email at rexstark@yahoo.com.

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