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NNP Blog

Dec 27 2020

U.S. Grant Medal (MI-29) Struck on 1000 Tons Medal Press

User ”messydesk” posted on the PCGS U.S. Coin Forum an interesting 1894 letter from the National Archives, processed by Newman Portal, acknowledging receipt of a U.S. Grant medal from the Philadelphia Mint. The medal, Julian MI-29, was a massive production weighing in at 28.77 ounces (the gold example, struck in 1865), and measuring 105 mm. The letter, written by William Sellers, notes that an example of this medal (presumably bronze, though not specifically stated) had been struck on a new press and inscribed on the edge accordingly. 

Does the medal still exist today? Robert Hoge, ANS Curator Emeritus, responded “Coleman Sellers Jr. was my great-great-grandfather. Prominent engineers and industrialists, he and William Sellers were cousins who seem to have worked frequently together. I have no idea as to what became of that particular U.S. Grant medal, I’m sorry to relate. Both William and Coleman would have received quite a few award medals during their careers, but I have no knowledge of what happened to any of those either. In fact, alas, I myself possess only a couple of Sellers family related mementoes of any kind and am not aware of the whereabouts of much else.”

The gold example is today in the National Numismatic Collection, and the massive format was not an outlier. The Cyrus Field gold medal (PE-10) is just under 25 ounces, while the Henry Clay medal (PE-7) is nearly 30 ounces. The Field medal, now in the Weinberg collection, will be featured in the upcoming Heritage FUN sale.

Link to National Archives content on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/Library/Archives?searchLetter=U
Link to Field gold medal, PE-10, offered by Heritage Auctions: https://coins.ha.com/itm/medals-and-tokens/tokens-and-medals/1867-cyrus-w-field-congressional-gold-medal-julian-pe-10-ms62-ngc/a/1326-4156.s?ic4=ListView-ShortDescription-071515
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