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ANS buys medal archive

Archives of the Medallic Art Company have been purchased by the American Numismatic Society.

More than 50,000 individual items such as medals, dies, galvanos, plaques, and paper and digital archives were sold to ANS for $420,000 in bankruptcy proceedings of the Northwest Territorial Mint in a Seattle court.

 Medallic Art Company archives have been purchased by the American Numismatic Society.

Medallic Art Company archives have been purchased by the American Numismatic Society.

ANS’s aim was to rescue everything that would allow it to reconstruct the history of this important company, one of America’s oldest and most important private mints.

The Medallic Art Company was founded in New York City around 1907. For more than a century, it produced the work of America’s finest artists.

Until its demise, many of the most famous awards in the United States – including the Pulitzer Prize Medal, the Randolph Caldecott medal, and many of the official medals of Presidential inaugurations – were produced at the Medallic Art Company.

To move and store the archive, ANS partnered with Medalcraft Mint, which previously had purchased all dies for medals made since 1998 by Medallic Art.

Some 20,000 older dies from the ANS purchase were shipped from Nevada to the Green Bay, Wis., headquarters of Medalcraft.

ANS has entered a contract with Medalcraft. It will select the dies that it wishes to keep for display and research purposes.

Medalcraft will become the owner after five years of any dies that ANS does not want.

An equally demanding task will be the selection of galvanos and die-shells for the permanent ANS collection.

There are approximately 15,000 such items, made from copper, epoxy, plaster, and other materials.

ANS thanked Rob Vugteveen, a former employee of Northwest Territorial Mint now working for Holabird Americana, and a team of a dozen students were able to help pack and move some of these items to an off-site storage location.

At the same time, a team of photographers, led by Lou Manna, bar-coded and photographed a large proportion of these objects.

Executive Director Ute Wartenberg, who traveled to Nevada to help pack the collection, said, “Without the help of Rob Vugteveen, the ANS would have not been able to achieve this Herculean task.

“The ANS also owes enormous gratitude to Fred Holabird, whose local connections made all this possible and who was instrumental in finding an affordable warehouse near Dayton where the material could be stored.”

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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