US Coins

Collection of Lincoln gold medals crossing auction block

The unique Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. Collection of Abraham Lincoln medals in gold will cross the auction block for the second time in less than five years when it is offered Feb. 5 and 6, 2015, in the Americana Showcase and Rarities Night auction from Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The 16 lots comprising the Eliasberg auction, which includes the display case, were last offered in The Philadelphia Americana Sale held Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, 2010, by Stack’s.

In the 2010 sale, the combined lots brought total prices realized of $125,177.50. That total includes the then 15 percent buyer’s fee added to the final closing hammer price of each lot won.

The buyer’s fee for the upcoming sale will be 17.5 percent.

Christine Karstedt, executive vice president for Stack’s Bowers Galleries, said each piece in the collection will be offered as an individual lot, as they were in the 2010 auction. For the set to remain intact, the high bidder would have to be the same person for each lot.

One lot features the original presentation case with research files prepared by Eliasberg documenting the collection and his quest to attain each piece.

The custom-made fitted case crafted to house the 16 pieces is gold-stamped PRESIDENT A. LINCOLN/ GOLD MEDALS.

The medals in the set are attributed in most instances according to Julian numbers as chronicled in R.W. Julian’s Medals of the United States Mint: The First Century 1792-1892, or in Robert P. King’s “Lincoln in Numismatics” (published in 1924 in The Numismatist, journal of the American Numismatic Association).

Set assembly

Eliasberg, a renowned numismatist from Baltimore, acquired the pieces comprising the set in 1945 from Stack’s.

The medals in this collection were first assembled by Judson Brenner, an early ANA leader, whose collection was the basis of the Robert P. King catalog.

The collection was handled after Brenner’s death by Philadelphia dealer Henry Chapman. It was purchased by numismatist T. James Clarke of Jamestown, N.Y., and was subsequently acquired by Stack’s of New York City, who interested Eliasberg in the unique assemblage.

The gold Lincoln medals include the U.S. Mint’s 76.1-millimeter  Lincoln Indian peace medal, the 77-millimeter Lincoln presidential medal by U.S. Mint Engraver George T. Morgan, the 1871 Emancipation medal, the 1909 Birth Centennial issue and seven of the tiny Mint Medalets honoring Lincoln with other historic figures. Also included are pieces issued by the colorful New York professional numismatist Thomas L. Elder, a passionate Lincoln admirer until his death in 1948.

Modern issues are highlighted by J. Henri Ripstra’s rectangular Lincoln 43.2- by 32.2-millimeter plaquette struck in the 1930s.

Ripstra, a former president of the ANA from Chicago, was a skilled medalist in his own right. 

The lots to be offered, their condition, catalog attribution number where noted, and the price realized in 2010 for the lot, are:

??Undated Abraham Lincoln medal, 39.7 millimeters, featuring obverse portrait of Lincoln as he would have looked circa 1860, designs by J.A. Eymann of Henning & Eymann of New York, struck in 1924 by Elder, King 789, unique in gold, Mint State, $5,750.

??Undated (circa 1930s) 18-karat gold Lincoln plaquette, designed by Ripstra, About Uncirculated, $10,925.

??1871 Abraham Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation medal, 45.2 millimeters, 1.76 troy ounces, Julian CM-16, Mint State, $5,750.

??Undated (1882) Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield Memorial medalet, 18.6 millimeters, Julian PR-41, AU, $1,610.

??Undated (1882) Lincoln and Garfield Memorial medalet, 18.6 millimeters, Julian PR-41, Mint State, $1,955.

??Undated (1882) Lincoln and Garfield Memorial medalet, 18.6 millimeters, Julian PR-41, Choice Mint State, $3,450.

??Undated (1882) Lincoln and Garfield Memorial medalet, 25.5 millimeters, Julian PR-40, AU, $2,990.

??1862 Abraham Lincoln Indian peace medal, 76.1 millimeters, 7.58675 troy ounces, Julian IP-38, AU, $43,125.

??1909 Abraham Lincoln Centennial medal, engraved by Morgan, 61.5 millimeters, 4.97 troy ounces, King 311, Mint State,  $16,100.

??“1865” (1886) Abraham Lincoln presidential medal by Morgan, 77 millimeters, 7.317 troy ounces, Julian PR-12, Choice AU, $21,850.

??Undated (1869) Abraham Lincoln / Broken Column medalet, by Chief U.S. Mint Engraver William Barber, 18.5 millimeters, Julian PR-38, AU, $1,265.

??1910 Lincoln Elder token, 15.1 millimeters, King 242, Mint State, $3,737.50.

??1927 Lincoln Elder token, King 1043, 15.2 millimeters, Mint State, $1,150.

??Undated (1869) Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant medalet, 18.5 millimeters, Julian PR-39, AU, bent,$1,380.

??Undated (1869) George Washington and Abraham Lincoln Memorial medalet, 18.5 millimeters, Julian PR-31, AU, $2,070.

??Custom display case and research files, $2,070.

For more information, visit Stack’s Bowers Galleries online.

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