Newman Portal Search of the Week: AC-39
This week a Newman Portal user searched for “AC-39.” U.S. medal collectors will quickly recognize this as a reference to a medal of the annual Assay Commission. The Assay Commission medal series illuminates the engraving capability of the U.S. Mint, which has been more often measured by its circulation strike coinage. In contrast to coinage designs which were executed once and lasted many years, the assay commission medals were created annually (although there is some die reuse in the series) and provide a much wider palette for artistic judgment. AC-39 is the 1895 medal, engraved by Charles E. Barber and featuring president Grover Cleveland. Pete Smith’s American Numismatic Biographies, which forms the basis for the Newman Portal people database, identifies a long list of medals engraved by Charles Barber, likely the only source where all this information is summarized in one place. The Assay Commission medals were cataloged by R. W. Julian and Ernest E. Keusch in 1989 and published in the TAMS Journal. Newman Portal further identifies auction appearances of this medal, including the Stacks-Bowers March 2014 Baltimore auction (lot 34, realized $381.88).
Link to Newman Portal people database: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/people
Link to Julian-Keusch reference on Assay Commission medals: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/525540?page=30
Link to Stack's-Bowers March 2014 Baltimore sale: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=3&AuctionId=517086&page=22