World Coins

Goldberg auction offers familiar medallic imagery

Two medals in the Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles Jan. 27 auction recall classic coin designs, offering affordable options for the collector.

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles.

Medallic design is not bound by the same rules of production methods and themes that apply to coinage.

But some medals mirror classic coinage, as do two different medals offered in Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles’ Pre-Long Beach auction Jan. 27. 


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These two options in the sale complement historic coinage, and at relatively affordable price points.

One, the 1962 Liberation medal from Israel, reflects the classic ancient coin known as the Judaea Capta type, issued by Vespasian in 70 A.D., at the conclusion of the First Revolt.

The medal, weighing 5 grams and composed of .750 fine gold, pairs an obverse bearing a stylized remembrance of the Roman Judaea Capta coin with a reverse having a modern scene of a palm tree, Jewish pioneer planting crops and mother holding a baby aloft. 

The medal measures 19 millimeters in diameter, approximating the size of a Lincoln cent. 

In “Choice Brilliant Uncirculated” condition, according to the auction house, it has an estimate of $125 to $150, the low estimate about three times the precious metal value of the piece. 

An American in Paris

Another medal in the sale, though French in origin, would seem right at home in a collection of American coins.

The 1792 medal by Andre Galle shows on the obverse a familiar bust of Liberty, facing left with a Phrygian cap on a pole over her shoulder, her hair flowing behind her.

If it looks familiar it’s because a similar image was used for the Libertas Americana medals created by France at the request of Benjamin Franklin, and the same imagery inspired America’s first half cent, issued in 1793. The 1792 French medal marks the first year of the French Republic. 

The medal is 38 millimeters in diameter and has “attractive light toning,” the firm said. Graded Mint State 62 by Professional Coin Grading Service, the medal has an estimate of $400 to $500, though its connection to American coinage may drive that price higher. Similar American coins in such condition are five- and six-figure items. 

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