World Coins

World War I satirical medal aims at President Wilson

A 1915 Karl Goetz medal in a Stephen Album Rare Coins’ auction satirizes “American neutrality” in WWI.

Medal images courtesy of Stephen Album Rare Coins.

More than 100 years after his prime, German medallic satirist Karl Goetz is remembered because of the biting nature of many of his works.

One such medal, commenting on “American neutrality” before America’s entry in the war, is among lots in Stephen Album Rare Coins’ Sept. 14 and 15 auction in Santa Rosa, California. 

The 1915 bronze medal features on its obverse a facing bust of President Woodrow Wilson, who was able to keep Americans out of the war for more than two-and-a-half years. A suited Wilson appears wearing glasses and a laurel wreath. A scarf lies with both ends on his shoulders displaying eagles, one of which is two-headed. Surrounding are his name and a legend translating to “liberty, neutrality, humanity.”

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The reverse shows Uncle Sam seated on a pile of cannonballs, holding a ship in one hand and bag of money in the other hand, with a cannon and other armaments in the background. The legend AMERIKA’S NEVTRALES HANDELN, meaning “America’s neutral trading,” is a reference to the American trade with both sides early in the conflict and financial support from American banks loaning to allies in France and the United Kingdom. 

The medal measures 56 millimeters in diameter and is graded Mint State 65 brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. 

It has an estimate of $250 to $350.

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