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Community Voice Response: Dec. 10, 2019

From the Nov.15 Numismatic News E-NewsLetter

Do you collect medals in addition to coins? If so, what types? If not, why?

Here are some answers sent in from our E-Newsletter readers.

Rarely would I collect medals.

Mark Cooper
Address Withheld

Yes, I collect silver medals as of six months ago to go along with my world coins books I’ve made up. I have three that are from Italy which are mid-1800s I believe, basically Papal States (popes). Why do I collect them? I don’t know, lol. I like that they’re old, silver and beautiful to look at.

Montague Bakasy
Address Withheld

I can honestly say that I’ve never seriously considered medals. But at the same time, I have limited resources so I have to choose whether I want to spend my money on coins (which I am already interested in), or on medals, which I don’t currently collect but am interested in.

None of the coin stores in my area stock a selection of medals, so it’s difficult for a new person who is interested to really know where to start or see what is available. Some websites such as eBay and the major auction houses are useful for reviewing what’s out there and selling. I refer to websites such as Numismatic News, CoinWeek, or Coin World, which occasionally provide interesting articles on medals, but it’s still hard to know where to start with a collection. Also, at least for me, there seem to be few local resources such as mentors or other collectors who I can talk with about collecting medals.

Matthew Kable
Address Withheld

I collect all types of numismatic items, including medals. I basically collect medals that were struck for a reason or place I can relate to or have lived. Specifically, I collect items such as Assay Commission medals and Lesher dollars.

Gary Lewis
Cape Coral, Fla.

I collect medals that go along with classic commemoratives such as the 1893 Columbian Exposition, 1901 Pan Am and the 1915 Pan-Pac Expos.

I also collect the occasional medal that catches my eye on a historical or artistic subject. I do not collect sets or modern arts medals. Some of these are pretty but way overpriced.

In foreign coins, I collect a few coronation or historic events medals that are artistically done and reasonably priced.

Rich Vatovec
Trussville, Ala.

Yes, I do collect medals also. I collect Fairfield County Connecticut and Monarch who did not issue coins.

Allen Berman
Fairfield, Conn.

I collect medals as a dealer, not a collector. I collect original silver Indian Peace medals and rare Civil War and earlier military campaign medals and awards.

Rex Stark
Gardner, Mass.

Yes, I love to collect exonumia, including Civil War tokens, Hard Times tokens, and so-called dollars and medals. I think it enhances my collecting experience because of the history usually associated with these pieces.

I usually collect medals that commemorate a historical event or person and have a beautiful design. Truly, one benefit of collecting medals is the vignettes and designs. Since they are usually larger in size, there is more room for intricate and bold designs on the pieces.

Richard Tritz
San Diego, Calif.

While I do own some U.S. coins, I collect U.S. exonumia generally and medals specifically. I prefer medals to coins because I find that, by and large, they are far more varied and interesting than coins.

It also appeals to me that many individual medals are far more likely to have been actually handled by famous individuals than individual coins are.

For instance, the Indian chief’s photographed wearing Peace medals or numismatists such as Farran Zerbe, well-known as a medal maker in his own right, and Thomas Elder whose medals continue to charm and offend (see Delory) to this day, and of course Benjamin Franklin, whose medallic design of the Comitia Americana medal one hopes is for the ages.

A. Kim
Address withheld

I do collect so-called dollars in addition to coins. Their size (similar to a silver dollar) is substantial enough to capture details. The variety and rarity of medals are so much greater than that of true coins. It is a challenge to hunt and find SCDs, yet the costs are a mere fraction of similar-rarity, regular-issue items. I especially enjoy medals from the World’s Fairs held in the United States. These are well known and cataloged among so-called dollars. Medals from the 1892 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago are relatively plentiful and affordable. Take a detour from the U.S. Mint. Investigate so-called dollars!

Jim Chudd
Fort Collins, Colo.

I collect all kinds. Right now I have some Presidential, Apollo 11,12 and 13, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and others. I have a catalog on medals but from 1991. I hope to collect more.

Jim Casto
Houston, Texas

I collect some medals which meet at least one of the following criteria:

1. Commemorating a historical person or event of significance to me

2. Of exceptional artistic merit

3. Of historical importance in and of itself (e.g. Lusitania medal)

4. Having a close connection to my other numismatic interest (e.g. British coronation medals)

Additionally, it must meet the criterion of economic viability, i.e., costing relatively little in respect to my perception of its “true” value

Jack Lloyd
Panama City, Fla.

I started collecting medals about 10 years ago, being impressed by the artistic quality of the designs and engraving. I am particularly fond of French and Belgian medals from the period 1900-1950.

Martin Mettee
Ellicott City, Md.

I collect medals and medallions dealing with “outer space” and astronomy, which are my intense interests.

Greg Gonia
Franklin, Wis.

I have never really been interested in collecting medals as much as I do U.S. coins, which I’ve been collecting for over 25 years since I was a teenager.

Emil Bley
Catonsville, Md.

I only collect medals that happen to come my way.

David Wyndoze
via Facebook

I like European art medals. I collect most Art Nouveau with female figures.

Wayne Aldrich
via Facebook