US Coins

United States Mint considers continuing legacy of silver medals

The United States Mint has produced a number of congressionally authorized medals in silver, including this 1961 Pony Express Termination Centennial medal.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

With the United States Mint considering an arts medals program proposed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee to include silver issues, perhaps it is apropos to look at other art medals the Mint has issued in silver.

The 1961 Pony Express Termination Centennial medal is one of several medals issued in 1960 and 1961 in different diameters and metallic compositions under provisions of the Act of March 18, 1960, Public Law 86-394, to mark the accomplishments of the Pony Express.

The 57.39-millimeter 1961 Pony Express Termination Centennial medal is struck in .900 fine silver. Each medal contains 4.212 troy ounces of pure silver.

The obverse depicts conjoined busts left to right of the of the Pony Express owners — William Hepburn Russell, Alexander Majors and William Bradford Waddell.

Below is a map of the telegraph line linking St. Joseph, Mo., Salt Lake City, Utah, and Sacramento, Calif. At the bottom is a telegraph key.

The Pony Express operated from April 3, 1860, to Oct. 24, 1861, moving the U.S. mail from St. Joseph to Sacramento.

The completion of the telegraph line on Oct. 24, 1861, ended the need for the Pony Express service.

The reverse depicts a dismounted Pony Express rider tending to his horse, as the rider looks at a Native American in the background whose hand is raised in greeting. A telegraph line stretches overhead and off into the distance.

The original designs for the medals were provided to the U.S. Mint by Roy J. Olson. The designs were sculptured by Assistant Mint Engraver Frank Gasparro.

Aa total of 1,000 of the silver medals with oxidized antique finish were issued at $30 each for the National Pony Express Centennial Association. The spirit of the Pony Express is kept alive by the National Pony Express Association.

Recently,  July 28, 2014, an example of the medal was recorded sold on eBay for $160.47.

The CCAC’s proposal suggests inclusion of .999 fine silver medals for the arts medals program. The program is one of the agenda items for its two-day meeting Sept. 23 and 24.

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