US Coins

First two silver Presidential medals August 16

The first two Presidential medals to be struck by the U.S. Mint in silver as part of an ongoing series are to be offered beginning at noon Eastern Time Aug. 16.

The medals are being struck without Mint mark at the Philadelphia Mint with a Matte Finish.

The first two medals in the series will depict the nation’s first two chief executives — George Washington and John Adams.

As of July 27, pricing was not yet announced for the silver medals. Mint officials also have not yet announced whether the mintages will be limited or unlimited since the medals are to be an ongoing offering from the Mint.

The medals are being struck on the same .999 fine silver planchets as are used to strike all versions of 1-ounce silver American Eagles.

The planchets measure 1.598 inches in diameter, or 40.6 millimeters.

The blanks are supplied by Sunshine Minting Inc. from Coueur D’Alene, Idaho.

Unlike the American Eagle silver dollar coins, which have a reeded edge, the medals will have a plain edge.

Both medals bear a replication of the original Peace and Friendship reverse design used on a number of Indian peace medals. The design shows clasped hands of a Colonial officer and Native American, with a crossed tomahawk and peace pipe above. The inscription PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP appears in three lines, above, between, and below the main devices.

The original Adams medal attributed as IP-1 in R.W. Julian’s Medals of the United States Mint The First Century 1792-1892 actually preceded the original Washington medal with the same Peace and Friendship reverse.

The original Washington medal wasn’t struck until after 1900, according to Julian.

The original Adams portrait was engraved by Moritz Furst and is the only Furst die known to have been engraved by Furst but unsigned.

The Peace and Friendship reverse design was engraved by U.S. Mint Engraver John Reich.

According to Julian, the obverse die was done at the request of, and paid for by, Chief Mint Coiner Adam Eckfeldt. Julian’s research indicates the die was likely executed some time after 1825, and likely during the presidential administration of John Quincy Adams, John Adams’s son.

1878-CC Morgan dollarInside Coin World: Coin Values Spotlight debuts in weekly issues: A new regular column in the weekly editions of Coin World, “Coin Values Spotlight,” makes its debut in the Aug. 13 print issue.

The John Adams portrait die remained in the Mint’s die collection in Philadelphia until some time in the 1850s, according to Julian, when Eckfeldt’s heirs secured its possession and sold it to prominent numismatist Joseph J. Mickley.

When the die appeared in the public auction in November 1878 of Mickley’s estate, former U.S. Mint Director James Ross Snowden notified his nephew, Philadelphia Mint Superintendent A. Loudon Snowden, who unsuccessfully attempted to have the die returned as stolen government property.

Mickley’s heirs, according to Julian, produced documents and ledgers proving otherwise. Acting as an agent on behalf of the U.S. government, James Ross Snowden purchased the die for $40 by private treaty before the auction.

Julian writes that the government did seize other dies from the 1878 Mickley sale. 

The Adams obverse die was sent to the Philadelphia Mint where 51-millimeter bronze medals were struck.

Circa 1905, according to Francis Paul Prucha, a 3-inch die was prepared so that the John Adams medal could be sold to the public in the same size as all other presidential and Indian peace medals. 

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