US Coins

Beaux Arts 1906 Franklin bronze medal in Baltimore

Medals remain a rich area ripe with opportunity for numismatists. Stack’s Bowers Galleries offered a deep selection of bronze medals in Baltimore as part of its Nov. 8 to 14 auctions presented as the official auctioneer of the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo. As information on medals becomes more available to collectors, prices are creeping up for both classic medals and more modern issues.

The Dangers of Counterfeits”The quality of the coins is getting better, and so are the counterfeits. Europe is experiencing the same problems seen in the United States, warns Coin World's correspondent in Germany.

Here is one of three that sold in Baltimore, each showcasing a different facet of the higher-end medal market.

The Lot:

1906 Franklin bronze medal by Augustus and Louis Saint-Gaudens, MS-63 brown

The Price:


The Story:

Among American medals in the Beaux Arts style produced in the first decade of the 20th century, coinciding with the “Renaissance” in American coinage design, Augustus and his brother Louis Saint-Gaudens’ 1906 Benjamin Franklin Birth Centennial medal is one of the most beautiful. Examples measuring 100 millimeters in diameter were produced by Tiffany & Co. Stack’s Bowers offered one graded MS-63 brown by NGC that sold for $7,800 in Baltimore.

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While Augustus is well-known to both art historians and numismatists, his brother Louis was a more conventional artist and was respected for his public commissions, where he favored full-length standing figures. The complex reverse of this medal, typical of the work of Louis St. Gaudens (he abbreviated his name to avoid confusion with his more famous brother), depicts a seated figure representing History who inscribes a shield as figures representing Literature, Science and Philosophy look on.

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