In 1876 the United States celebrated its Centennial and among the
numerous commemorative items produced were tokens and medals. This
medal, 58 millimeters in diameter and made of gilt copper, was
designed by William Barber. It brought $329 at Stack's Bowers
Galleries' March 26, 2014, auction held during the Whitman Expo in Baltimore.
William Barber was the fifth chief engraver of the U.S. Mint and
served from 1869 until his death in 1879. His work is seen on many
U.S. pattern coins of the era, medals such as this one, and the Trade
dollar struck from 1873 to 1885. William was succeeded as chief
engraver by his son Charles, who served in that capacity until his
death in 1917.
On the obverse of this medal, Liberty places wreaths on the heads of
figures representing Industry and Art. On the reverse, Liberty kneels
with an unsheathed sword. The copper gilt medals originally sold for
$3 and copper medals, which originally cost $1, can be found today for
less than $200.