World Coins

Collectors treat coins well, but not these folks

When the Austrian Numismatic Society reached its 10th anniversary, the organization issued commemorative medals struck on metal recovered from melted down ancient coins.

Medal images courtesy of Classical Numismatic Group.

Coin collectors generally take pains to preserve and protect coins for future generations.

An 1880 medal issued by the Austrian Numismatic Society, though, is the product of a reversal of that policy.

The bronze medal marks the 10th anniversary of the Österreichische Numismatische Gesellschaft (Austrian Numismatic Society). To celebrate the decennalia, the group had ancient bronze coins melted down to provide metal for the medal.

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An example of this medal realized $207, including the 15 percent buyer’s fee (against an estimate of $100) in Classical Numismatic Group’s e-auction No. 379, which closed July 13.

The obverse of the medal depicts Joseph Hilarius Eckhel, an Austrian Jesuit priest and numismatist. 

The reverse features a seven-line legend citing the 10th anniversary of the group and date; below is an Athens-style owl (familiar from ancient coins) flanked by olive branches; in exergue is text translating to “melted ancient coins provided the bronze.”

The medal was designed by Anton Scharff. It weighs 26.58 grams and measures 35 millimeters in diameter 

The medal was once part of the RBW Collection. According to the auction house, it is graded Extremely Fine with brown surfaces.

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