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Gerald Tebben

Five Facts

Gerald Tebben

Gerald Tebben, a Coin World columnist for more than 30 years, also contributes to Coin World’s Coin Values and edits the Central States Numismatic Society’s journal, The Centinel. He collects coins that tell stories.

Coin World’s bloggers are not edited by Coin World’s editorial staff and blog posts reflect the views of the individual author.

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Archive for 'August 2016'

    Mountains, monuments & money: ​From Ticonderoga to the Panama Canal

    August 26, 2016 4:25 PM by

    Charles Keck’s name is largely forgotten, but in the early years of the 20th century he designed three commemorative coins and dozens of monuments across the country.

    He designed the  1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition gold dollar  featuring a Panama Canal worker on the obverse and dolphins on the reverse, the 1927 Vermont Sesquicentennial half dollar showing Green Mountain Boy Ira Allen on the obverse and a catamount on the reverse, and the 1936 Lynchburg Sesquicentennial half dollar, a coin which remarkably showed the still living Sen. Carter Glass on the obverse and Liberty in front of the Lynchburg Courthouse on the reverse.

    Keck, who designed the Booker T. Washington memorial at Tuskegee University, nearly also designed the Booker T. Washington half dollar (1946-1951). Keck’s design for the coin had been approved by the Mint and S.J. Phillips, who had lobbied for the commemorative. But the Commission of Fine Arts rejected it in favor of a design offered by Isaac Scott Hathaway.

    Beside the Booker T. Washington memorial, Keck also created the equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson that stands outside the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City, Mo.; the Huey Long Memorial in Baton Rouge, La.; and Liberty Monument at Ticonderoga.

    Liberty Monument features a massive bronze sculpture of Liberty atop a granite base. Four sculptures representing an Indian, a Frenchman, a Scottish soldier and an American stand at the base of the plinth.

    Demagogue Huey Long was assassinated in 1935 as he was preparing to run for president of the United States. Keck’s 12-foot tall bronze statue of the Kingfish stands atop his towering tombstone on the grounds of the Louisiana statehouse.

    NEXT: The Alamo and the U.S. Capitol

    Mountains, monuments & money: Victory becomes Liberty

    August 22, 2016 9:35 AM by

    Augustus Saint-Gaudens, designer of what is widely regarded as the most beautiful United States coin ever minted — the $20 double eagle of 1907 to 1933 — also created numerous monuments, including a massive gilded bronze statue of Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.

    The monument in Grand Army Plaza at the southeast corner of New York’s Central Park, features a mounted Sherman led by Victory. The statue of Victory, cast in 1902, is often cited as the inspiration for Liberty on the Saint-Gaudens double eagle.

    Others of his works include Chicago’s 12-foot tall Standing Lincoln statue in Lincoln Park and the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Boston Common, a commission he worked on for an astounding 14 years.

    Besides the double eagle, Saint-Gaudens also designed the stunning Indian $10 gold piece of 1907 to 1933. Saint-Gaudens, unfortunately, died before the coins were released into circulation. Both designs remained in production until the end of circulating gold coins in 1933. The 1933 double eagle has a checkered past. Only one is legal to own. It sold for $7,590,020 in 2002.

    The obverse of Saint-Gaudens’ $20 gold piece was reprised in 1986 for the Mint’s American Eagle gold bullion pieces, which are still in production. In 2009, the Mint made an ultra-high-relief, one-ounce version of the coin for sale to collectors. That tour de force harkened back to the coin’s inception when the coin’s original high-relief concept proved too difficult to produce for circulation.

    NEXT: From Ticonderoga to the Panama Canal

    MOUNTAINS, MONUMENTS AND MONEY: ​A nickel and the Supreme Court

    August 11, 2016 4:02 PM by

    James Earle Fraser, whose work graces the obverse and reverse of the iconic Indian Head five-cent piece, also designed numerous monumental sculptures in Washington, D.C., including the statues Contemplation of Justice and Authority of Law that flank the entrance of the U.S. Supreme Court building.

    Until 1938, when Indian Head nickel production stopped, Fraser’s work could be found in every pocket in America. But even now, you can’t turn around in the nation’s capital without bumping into something he created.

    Fraser’s statues appear in the background of photos and TV footage accompanying stories about Supreme Court decisions dozens, perhaps hundreds, of times each year. Voting rights — Fraser’s there. Abortion — Fraser’s there. Obamacare — Fraser’s there.

    At the National Archives, his Recorder of the Archive appears on the pediment above the south entrance. At the Treasury Department building, immense statues of Albert Gallatin (fourth and longest serving Secretary) and Alexander Hamilton (first Secretary and subject of a current Broadway hit) guard the north and south entrances, respectively.

    Fraser’s Indian Head design was raised from the dead in 2001 when the Mint issued the popular American Buffalo commemorative dollar. Since 2006 the Mint has also struck gold versions of the 103-year-old design.

    Frasier, who grew up in South Dakota, and his wife designed the 1926-1939 Oregon Trail commemorative half dollar. The obverse of that coin shows a romanticized image of life on the trail with a man leading a Conestoga wagon into the sun while his wife and baby ride inside.

    Fraser’s work also appears on United States paper money. His statue of Hamilton outside the Treasury Department building also appears in the center of the Treasury building vignette on the back of current $10 bill.

    NEXT: Victory becomes Liberty