This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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Boxer Barney Ross is honored on the Jewish-American Hall of Fame’s 2010 annual art medal, which is being offered for sale to the public.
Ross was the first boxer to hold three world titles at the same time: world lightweight and junior welterweight champion 1933-1935 and world welterweight champion in 1934 and 1935-1938. He is also heralded as a World War II hero.
Eugene Daub has sculpted the high-relief Barney Ross 2-inch medals that are available in limited editions of bronze, pure silver and gold-plated silver. The bronze medal has a maximum production of 500 and is priced at $35. The silver version carries a maximum of 250 and is available for $125. The gold-plated silver issue has a maximum of 35 and is for sale for $185.
Ross was born as Dov-Ber Rasofsky Dec. 23, 1909, in Chicago. His boxing career lead to inductions into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the World Boxing Hall of Fame, the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
In his early 30s, after his boxing career had ended, Ross joined the United States Marine Corps. He was sent to Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. Because of his heroism during the war, Ross was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Silver Star, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with a Marine Batallion in Guadalcanal Nov. 18-20, 1942.” These words are inscribed on the medal along with his words: “The night I spent in that shell hole with five wounded leathernecks and two soldiers was by all odds the toughest round I’ve ever slugged through.”
During his recovery at the hospital from the wounds he had received in battle, Ross developed an addiction to morphine, which became a heroin habit when he returned to the U.S. After beating the addiction, he gave lectures to high school students about the dangers of drug addiction. He died at the age of 57.
To place an order for the medal, write Jewish-American Hall of Fame, 5189 Jeffdale Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91364 or call (818) 225-1348.
The non-profit Jewish-American Hall of Fame, founded in 1969, is the sponsor of the longest series of art medals currently being issued in the U.S. For more information, visit www.amuseum.org/jahf.