US Coins

Market Analysis: Columbian Expo medals at auction

An 1892 Landing and Return of Christopher Columbus medal by Bartolomé Maura brought $432 at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ recent ANA auctions.

Images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries.

The World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World in 1492. The exposition covered 690 acres, included nearly 200 new (mostly temporary) buildings and hosted more than 27 million people who were entertained and enlightened in “The White City.”

As one might expect, many of the medals purport to depict Columbus as they celebrate the “discovery of the New World.” Stack’s Bowers Galleries offered a nice collection at its Aug. 19, 2021, American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money session, including this 1892 Landing and Return of Columbus bronze medal by Spanish medalist Bartolomé Maura. An article by Kenneth N. Traub in the October 1993 journal of the Tokens and Medals Society said that the medal “was selected for its fine historical scenes, although it was also criticized for the presence of a friar in the land discovery scene, as no clergy accompanied Columbus on the first voyage.”

Measuring 70.4 millimeters in diameter and graded Choice Mint State by the auctioneer, it realized $432.

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