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Zachary Taylor medal sets record

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Stack?s sale Nov. 7-8 in Baltimore realized $13,154,424, including the $460,000 record price paid for the gold congressional medal presented to President Zachary Taylor.

An anchor consignment of the Stack?s sale was material from the Norweb collection, particularly medals featuring George Washington. The two highest prices realized in the sale were both for medals, and three different medals surpassed the $250,000 mark.

All sale prices reported here include the 15-percent buyer?s fees.

A record price for an American medal was set, according to Stack?s, when the gold medal given to President Zachary Taylor for actions at the Battle of Buena Vista in the Mexican War sold for $460,000.

The price and winning phone bidder were both loudly applauded.

Catalogers said the previous price record for an American medal was $115,000.

The Norweb collection of Washingtonia saw two different medals sell for more than $250,000 among dozens of other highlights. The highest price realized was, ironically, for the newest medal in the entire collection, produced by casting in 1889 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens to mark the centennial anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington. Opening at $40,000, bids came from all over the room, the Internet and the phones. An anonymous collector paid a final price of $391,000.

The highest price realized for a Washington coin or token was $299,000 for the 1792 Getz copper cent pattern, Baker-25, graded MS-64 Brown by Professional Coin Grading Service. Two other pieces sold for $253,000 each. One was another gold medal, the finer of two known Washington funeral medals with the Skull and Crossbones reverse; and the other was a rare 1792 Washington President / eagle with stars copper pattern, PCGS AU-53.

Norweb?s 1792 Roman Head Washington piece went for $132,250, and $212,750 was top bid for the rare Washington Born Virginia medal with eagle with stars reverse.

The trio of pieces made by Lancaster, Pa., silversmith Peter Getz came next, with a VF-25 (PCGS) silver half dollar pattern bringing $184,000, the copper plain edge piece, noted above, $253,000 while the scarcer variety with circle and squares edge graded PCGS AU-50 sold for $207,000.

A 1795-dated Liberty and Security penny graded PCGS MS-61 Brown sold for $32,200, while the Declaration of Independence medal by Charles Cushing Wright brought $19,550. A few lots later, the silver Washington CCAUS medal, produced by Joseph Samson in 1805 from dies by John Reich, sold for $74,750.