US Coins

Louisville police investigating political items theft

Police in Louisville, Ky., continue to investigate the Dec. 27, 2015, theft of early political campaign items from attorney Scott Dolson that the collector values at $1.4 million.

Of the roughly 1,200 items reported stolen, 18 pieces were recovered after they were sold to a coin dealer at his shop in Allentown, Pa.

No arrests have been made. The stolen items were not insured, according to Dolson.

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A 48-page listing of the items stolen, many illustrated, can be found on the website of the American Political Items Collectors here.

What's missing?

Dolson estimates the number of items taken in the burglary at approximately 1,200 pieces. The person or persons involved broke into Dolson's home while the family was away for the holiday and used a cutting torch to gain access to a gun safe where the collection was housed. The thief or thieves unsuccessfully tried to gain access to another safe in another room in the basement.

Dolson reported the following additional information to Coin World:

"Stolen was probably the most complete collection of 19th century political campaign medals/tokens. Most of the pieces in the collection are in outstanding condition. It was more complete than the Ford [John J. Ford Jr.] medals collection and included medals from the Charlie McSorley collection, the Zabriskie collection (probably 10 or so silver medals from this collection) and the Ford Collection (about 60 slabbed pieces). About 200 silver campaign medals in all, along with most of the early rare Jackson, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison medals. Most all of the campaign medals that are included in the Sullivan/DeWitt book on campaign medals were in the collection and stolen. About 150 or so Bryan money pieces were also stolen. They didn’t take some of the larger political medals that were in trays, so those are missing from the attached list of stolen medals. 

"18 pieces (including 4 slabbed items from the Ford collection) were recovered when sold through a coin store in Allentown PA."

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Among the items taken, a number were pieces once in the collection of noted numismatist John J. Ford Jr., including these pieces:

  • 1860 Abraham Lincoln medal, DeWitt-AL 1860-10, 38 millimeters, copper, Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Mint State 64.
  • 1844 Henry Clay medal, DeWitt-HC 1844-4, 42 millimeters, gilt white metal, unholed, reverse rotated 90 degrees clockwise in relation to normal coin alignment, NGC MS-62.
  • 1840 Martin Van Buren medal, DeWitt, MVB 1840-4, 38 millimeters, white metal, NGC MS-62. One of two examples known and the only one in private hands (the other is in the collection of the American Numismatic Society).

In addition to the political items, a quantity of jewelry, which was insured, and cash was also reported taken, according to the police report.

Anyone with information on the theft or whereabouts of any of the missing items is asked to contact the lead investigator, Detective Leo Dattilo, 5th Division, Louisville Metro Police, by telephone at 502-574-7636.

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