US Coins

1892 World’s Columbian Expo medal bids too low

A rich variety of coins including many collector favorites sold at Scotsman Auction Co.’s Nov. 3 Collectors’ Auction at the Saint Charles Convention Center in Missouri. A few higher-end gold coins failed to meet their reserves, including a 1930-S Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle, graded Mint State 63+ by Professional Coin Grading Service and bearing a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, that was estimated to bring $85,000 to $100,000. However, popular collector coins including a nice group of Morgan dollars performed admirably in the auction, which totaled $1,374,140.

Here’s one of those Morgan dollars from Scotman’s sale:

The Lot:

Gilt 1892 World's Columbian exposition medal, Proof 65

The Price:


The Story:

One of the flashier lots was an 1892 World’s Columbian Exposition medal featuring a Liberty Head design on the obverse that is somewhat reminiscent of a contemporary circulating Morgan dollar. The reverse depicts the popular Columbus Landing motif. Most examples were struck in Europe in four sizes — of which this is the largest — generally in white metal or aluminum, though some were gilt to resemble gold strikings.

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The description states, “This particular example displays a classic look for the type, very nearly showing fully prooflike character, and certainly enjoying the extremely high relief intended by the designer.” The gold color is uniform, leading Scotsman to observe, “Unlike the typical gilt example, which may show thinning of the gold plate on the highpoints due to friction during storage, the gold appears to be entirely intact for this remarkable gem.” The medal, measuring 90 millimeters in diameter, graded Proof 65 by NGC and estimated at $4,000 to $5,500, failed to meet its reserve.

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