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Silver medal effort pays off

Collector triumphs.

Perhaps we do not see enough statements like that.

I use it this morning because a story of success can now be written about one collector's quest.

It started last year on Aug. 18 when a reader emailed me.

He wrote:

“One of the things I collected as a kid with paper route money was the Presidential Arts series of U.S. Presidents in bronze. I found them recently and have now started collecting the series (plus the Statehood series and Declaration Signers) in silver.

"You are much closer than me to the silver melt history over the last 50 plus years. They minted 7,500 of the medals in silver. What is your educated guess on how many of these medals were melted for the silver? They have more silver in them than the U.S. silver dollars.

"My concern with trying to put these series together is that there may simply not be enough of them around to complete the sets.”

I responded with this short email:

“Good luck with your effort. I look forward to hearing the results.

“No records were kept of the melting, so there is no way I can know. I expect you will be able to complete the set, but it might take time.”

In my inbox this morning was an email to tell me how it all turned out.

The collector wrote:

“I contacted you several months ago about trying to put together the MACO (Medallic Art Co.) Presidential, Statehood and Declaration Signers sets in bronze and silver.

"It took me 9 months of eBay shopping but it’s done!

"Your prediction I could find all the pieces in silver was correct even in light of our silver melt history. You were also correct it would take some time.

"Interestingly I was down to 8 Declaration medals and I stalled out for almost 3 months. Nothing. Then, three weeks ago, all 8 were listed by a single seller and I was able to snag them all for far less than I was willing to spend.

"I designed and built holders for all medals and hope to display them at a future show. My goal is to encourage young people to get interested in collecting. I was hooked on collecting as a youngster, in part, by the Presidential Art series. Maybe sharing my story will create interest for others.”

Here is an ending we can all be happy about. We owe a debt to the collector who shares this story with us.

I hope I will see the exhibit when it is laid out at a future show. It will be worth studying. It will also bring back memories.

Collectors in the 1960s were crazy about medals. The artwork was well done. The subjects were numerous. If one did not appeal, another did.

I remember drooling over some of the issues and buying a small number of them.

Perhaps after a long period where medals of this kind have been flying under the radar, it is time for them to be spotlighted again.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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