US Coins

June 15 sale includes space flown silver relic medal

A 1926 Best Picture Award bronze duplicate medal, a relic medal struck from space-flown treasure wreck silver and bills of exchange signed by Declaration of Independence signer Francis Hopkinson are among 930 lots offered in RR Auction's sale closing June 15.

Just under 3 inches in diameter, the 1926 Best Picture medal is a bronze duplicate of the gold medal of honor presented by Photoplay Magazine to the producer of the year's winning film, Beau Geste. The bronze duplicates, also struck by Tiffany & Co., were produced in limited number for distribution for some of the silent film's important participants.

The Photoplay Magazine medal of honor, introduced in 1920, was the first major annual movie award preceding the establishment of the Academy Awards in 1929. The magazine award was selected based on voting of the publication's subscribers.

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The obverse of the medal features the traditional comedy and tragedy masks in high relief, incribed around THE PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE AWARD. The medal's reverse is inscribed PRESENTED / TO /  PARAMOUNT-FAMOUS-LASKY CORP. / BY / PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE / FOR THE PRODUCTION / BEAU GESTE / THE BEST PHOTOPLAY / OF THE YEAR / 1926.

The medal is housed in its original presentation case. The medal carries an estimate of $1,000+.

Space-flown treasure-wreck silver

When astronaut David Randolph Scott commanded the Apollio 15 mission July 26 to Aug. 7, 1971, carried aboard the spacecraft was Scott's personal bar of salvaged silver recovered from the wreckage of the 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet.

Also aboard were 127 of 304 Apollo 15 medals in silver struck by Robbins Company. (The other medals were not carried aboard the spacecraft because of weight restrictions.) Following the spacecraft's return, Robbins Company recycled the 177 medals not carried in space and mixed in with their recycled metal Scott's treasure-wreck silver before restriking 177 more medals.

RR Auction is offering, with an estimate of $3,000+, Scott's example of one of the 177 Apollo 15 restrike relic medals.

The obverse of the medal, measuring approximately 1.5 inches in diameter, bears in high relief the Apollo 15 mission insgnia.

The reverse design incorporates  the launch date of July 26, 1971; moon landing date of July 30, 1971; and mission return date of Aug. 7, 1971. Around the border is the inscription MAN'S FLIGHT THROUGH LIFE IS SUSTAINED BY THE POWER OF HIS KNOWLEDGE. The steling silver medal is serial numbered 230 incuse on the edge.

Bills of exchange

Carrying an estimate of $1,300+, the dual bills of exchange signed twice by Francis Hopkinson are dated May 21, 1779. The uncut sheet reflects the third and fourth bills of exchange for “12 Dollars, in Sixty Livres Tournois, for Interest due on Money borrowed by the United States” to be paid unto Moses Hoyt within a 30-day period.

One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Hopkinson signed the bills of exchange in his capacity as treasurer of loans for the State of Massachusetts Bay. The bills are countersigned by Nathaniel Appleton in his capacity as commissioner of the continental loan office for Massachusetts Bay.


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