A number of private mints have minted tokens for commerce or medals
for commemoration throughout the years.
One of those mints that remains active today is the Lombardo Mint.
We recently encountered one of its pieces, an aluminum medal with a
Peace dollar design, and wanted to learn more. Here is what we found.
The privately owned Lombardo Mint was founded in Sherbrooke, Quebec,
Canada, in 1952.
Owner Orazio Lombardo, a native of Milan, Italy, arrived in Canada
in 1950 with $20 in his pocket in search of a job with a Sherbrooke
jewelry firm. Job in hand, Lombardo saved money for the machinery to
set up his own shop, according to Coin World’s Feb. 1, 1967, issue.
His company was at first located in his basement and called Lombardo
Speciality Reg’d, according to a company history published at the
firm's website. He specialized in enameled products,
lapel pins and fine jewelry. In 1955 he moved his company to a
two-story building and renamed it Canadian Artistic Dies.
Lombardo was lauded for his design skills, and he later added
several more artists to his staff, including engraver Arnaldo Marchetti.
The company had plenty of work during the medallic heyday of the
1960s and 1970s, with a production capacity of 10,000 medals daily,
according to a Feb. 14, 1968, report in Coin World. It produced
bus tokens, and commemorative medals for the 1967 Canadian Centennial,
the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing and the 1976 American Bicentennial.
In 1970, the firm had moved to Vermont and was renamed the Lombardo
Mint. It is now a division of Mississauga Mint in Canada.
Our medal is silver-dollar-sized and features the reverse of the
Peace dollar on one side, with several sets of clasped hands of
different eras surrounding the design. Minting motifs, company name
and year of founding appear on the other side. An Oct. 14, 1970,
report in Coin World mentions a Peace medal issued by the firm,
and while that issue does not show the piece or describe it further,
the theme of our mystery piece matches that concept.