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Ford medals garner $3.3 million in Stack's sale

"When you realize there were only 189 lots in the whole sale and that each of them was a medal, then the real significance of the realization begins to sink in," said firm co-chairman Harvey G. Stack.
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Stack?s auctioned the John J. Ford Jr. collection of Indian Peace medals Oct. 17 in New York City, realizing $3,321,683.

All prices reported here include the 15-percent buyer premiums.

?When you realize there were only 189 lots in the whole sale and that each of them was a medal, then the real significance of the realization begins to sink in,? said the firm?s co-chairman, Harvey G. Stack. ?There wasn?t a single regular-issue coin in the entire sale, yet the price realized per lot was higher than in most important sales of U.S. coins that I can remember,? Stack continued.

Average price realized per lot was $17,575.

Q. David Bowers, co-chairman of the firm with Stack, noted that the sale set numerous world records.

?The sale itself set a new world record for the highest prices realized for an auction of medals,? Bowers said. ?The 1760 Montreal, 1801 Thomas Jefferson, 1832 John Jacob Astor and 1881 Chester Arthur silver medals were among those that set world records,? Bowers concluded.

The auction featured Part 16 of the John J. Ford Jr. Collection that has been coming to market via auction since 2003. This part included Indian Peace medals issued to Native Americans by France, Spain, Britain and the United States.

Highlight of the sale was a silver medal issued by John Jacob Astor, shown above, one of only seven pieces known to the Stack?s cataloger and described as the finest seen by him. Graded Choice Very Fine, bidding for the 2-1/2 inch silver medal opened at $115,000. Ownership was contested between two collectors before finally being hammered down, the final price $201,250.

Close runner-up to the record setter was the price realized for the four-inch silver 1801 Thomas Jefferson medal offered in Lot 107. Graded Choice Very Fine by the firm, the lot went to a mail bidder for $189,750.

The three-inch silver 1801 Thomas Jefferson medal offered in the following lot, graded Extremely Fine, also sold to a mail bidder at $184,000.

The smallest of the set of three silver Jefferson medals in this part of the Ford collection, a two-inch example graded by the cataloger as Choice Extremely Fine, sold for $172,500.

Among British medals offered in the Ford auction was a 1760 silver medal struck following the capture of the city of Montreal by the British from the French at the end of the French and Indian War. One of only seven specimens Stack?s was able to trace, the medal was named for a member of the Mohican tribe who had participated in the battle for the city. The medal sold for $155,250.

A silver Washington Seasons Medal showing the Shepherd obverse and graded Choice Very Fine by the firm brought $57,500. A 2-1/2 inch 1817 James Monroe Peace medal graded Choice About Uncirculated realized $40,250 while a large 1845 James Polk Peace medal described as About Uncirculated hit $41,400.

A large size 1862 Abraham Lincoln Peace medal graded Prooflike Choice About Uncirculated went for $34,500 and a large size 1865 Andrew Johnson Peace medal, described as ?essentially as struck,? sold to a floor bidder for $36,800.

An 1881 oval silver Peace medal with James Garfield?s portrait was described as the only one known to the cataloger, who said it was last offered for sale in the 1981 auction of the Garrett collection, where it realized $9,500. This time out it sold for $52,900.

The highest price paid for a solid silver U.S. Mint Peace medal was $97,750 for an 1881 Chester Arthur medal. Described as Choice Uncirculated and the finer of only two known specimens, the medal had been given to President Arthur?s secretary of the Interior, H.M. Teller, when it was first struck and had descended in the same family until Ford purchased it. The only other one known was last sold in the 1986 auction of the Dreyfuss collection, where it sold for $16,500, catalogers said.

For further information, contact Stack?s at (212) 582-2580 or by mail at 123 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. Web site is