I am a casual collector but would like to get an original 3-inch
diameter bronze Kennedy inaugural medal struck by the U.S. Mint in
1961. I want to be sure that it is not a recently made reproduction by
the Mint as I know they offer smaller replicas now. Did the Mint make
3-inch replicas, too? I called the Mint but was unable to get a clear answer.
There are some 3-inch medals offered on eBay that are still sealed
in plastic, or so they say, but are these originals or replicas? If
there are no 3-inch replicas, this will make it easier to have
confidence in a selection.
Stephen R. Kinder
Overland Park, Kan.
The medal referenced in Mr. Kinder’s letter is from the Mint’s
Presidential medal series, which originated in the 19th century. While
many of these medals reference the inauguration, they are not the
“official” inaugural medals. Official inaugural medals are privately
commissioned, designed and sold by the president’s inaugural committee.
Currently, the Mint offers for sale only a select number of bronze
presidential medals. These are offered in both 3-inch and 1.3125-inch
diameters. The Kennedy medal is currently unavailable.
Whether “restrikes” exist for the Mint’s Kennedy Presidential
medal is probably a matter of semantics. The Mint likely struck
quantities as needed to fill orders after the initial numbers were
struck, but to characterize these additional strikings as “restrikes”
is probably unnecessary. “Restrikes” of earlier Mint Presidential
medals exist, however, distinguished from “originals” by different finishes.
For a collector seeking an “original” Kennedy inaugural medal
struck in 1961, David Alexander writes: “The official John F. Kennedy
Inaugural Medal was struck by Medallic Art Company, then based in New
York City. It was designed by the late Paul Manship at the suggestion
of the First Lady [Jacqueline Kennedy]. Presidential Art Medals (PAM)
was a private company based in Englewood (later Vandalia), Ohio. ...
“The official Inaugural Medal was struck in 70-mm gold (one for
the President); 7,500 in silver and 53,331 in bronze for public sale.
“There have been no restrikes, but there is a lightweight
counterfeit made years ago in Hong Kong that has a cheap goldish color
and extra lines of type below the eagle. All genuine medals bear the
incuse medallic art co. n.y. on the edge.
“The official medals are less costly today than in the 1960s. The
bronze are selling for $50 or less, the silver at $150 to 200,
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