One of possibly only two known 1901 Pan-American Exposition medals struck in
gold and still in existence will be offered to collectors by Rago Auctions
in its Feb. 24 sale.
Chris Wise, director of Coins/Currency and Silver for the
Lambertville, N.J., firm, said the medal originated from an estate in
Corp. has authenticated and encapsulated the medal as Uncirculated
Details, Bent, Scratched.
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The 64-millimeter medal is attributed as NY L-TM103 in Fred Lavin’s
2010 reference, Panorama of the Pan-Am.
The medal is inscribed incuse on the edge with the manufacturer’s
name and gold fineness: GORHAM CO. 24K.
Wise says the gold medal weighs 194 grams, or 6.38 troy ounces.
The exposition in Buffalo, N.Y., is tragically noted as the site of
the Sept. 6, 1901, assassination of President William McKinley.
McKinley died Sept. 14, eight days after being mortally wounded.
The obverse of the gold medal depicts a striding nude representing
Liberty, alongside a garlanded buffalo. The reverse depicts two Native
Americans, from South and North America, facing one another as they
share a peace pipe.
The medal was designed and engraved by sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil,
future designer of the Standing Liberty quarter dollar.
The obverse is inscribed PAN AMERICAN EXPOSITION above Liberty.
Inscribed on a plaque below is ELDRIDGE R. JOHNSON to whom the medal
was presented, with HERMON MACNEIL SC in the exergue.
The reverse is inscribed in the field above the two Indians in two
lines BVFFALO / V•S•A• MCMI.
The medal is accompanied by its original presentation box from the
Gorham Manufacturing Co. On its cover appears, in gold lettering, GOLD
MEDAL AWARDED / TO / ELDRIDGE R. JOHNSON FOR / VICTOR TALKING MACHINES
/ PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION / 1901.
Johnson founded the Victor Talking Machine Co., which he turned into
the leading producer in America of phonograph players and phonograph records.
Wise says his research found no evidence of any example of the gold
medal in the collections of the American Numismatic Association, American Numismatic
Society, Buffalo University or museums in the Buffalo area. Wise
said he has also not come across evidence of a gold example previously
crossing the auction block.
New York professional numismatist Anthony Terranova said he examined
a gold example of the medal a number of years ago, but it was not
engraved with the name of a recipient. At the time he examined the
gold medal, Terranova said it was owned by professional numismatist
Jay Cline, a Standing Liberty quarter dollar specialist and author of
the reference Standing Liberty Quarters.
Wise said as many as 10 of the medals may have been struck in gold.