US Coins

Despite design, 1976 Bicentennial medal market weak

Tokens and medals remain, especially when compared with U.S. coins, an area where discoveries can be made and even the rarest examples trade at a fraction of what comparably desirable regular issue U.S. coins would sell for.

Heritage’s June 10 and 12 Tokens and Medals Signature Auction was held in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp and Sports Collectibles Expo. The $858,105 sale included many lots under $100, but there are three we're profiling in this week's Market Analysis that were a bit pricier and show distinct areas of the tokens and medals market. 

Here's a look at one:

The Lot

1976 Bicentennial gold medal, MS-63

The Price

$21,756.30

The Story

In 1976 and the years immediately leading up to it, the nation was in a Bicentennial frenzy as the United States planned celebrations honoring the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Thousands of special numismatic issues were struck and among the most impressive and expensive is this gold medal measuring 3 inches in diameter struck by the United States Mint.

This large medal is number 316 of just 424 pieces struck. Containing 17.32 troy ounces of gold, many were melted in 1980 and again more recently as gold reached record highs.

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The obverse, depicting the Statue of Liberty, was the work of Frank Gasparro. The reverse depicts the Great Seal of the United States.

Graded Mint State 63 by NGC, it is housed in a massive slab and sold for $21,756.30 (or $1,256 an ounce). Considering that gold closed in London on June 10 at $1,275.50, it seems that collectors continue to resist paying a premium for these admittedly impressive gold medals.

Keep reading this Market Analysis:

What the finest known 'Union Forever' Civil War token sold for $8,812.50

Hard Times token featuring anti-slavery message tops $70,000 in auction


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