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FAMOUS PERFORMERS AND OTHER PUBLIC PEOPLE EXCLUDING PRESIDENTS

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Something new to read May 2021: This section includes medals commemorating famous Americans who appear to have had wide national U.S. recognition, and in keeping with HK, no purely presidential medals, and nothing minted prior to 1826(HK-1). Some of the medals commemorate famous entertainers and performances(#305, 306, 306a, 306b, 308, 309, 309a, 310d, 312). Boxing events, mostly already included in HK, can probably also be viewed as having a similar entertainment theme. Foreign performers with a wide U.S following are included(#306, 309, 309a), but only if a performance done within the United States is commemorated on the medal. Where the medal was minted was of little or no concern to me, and in the case of famous American performers it did not much matter to me that the medal may have been associated with foreign tours(#306a, 306b, 310d). Years ago I would have never considered these famous performers/performance medals to be included as so called dollars. What it finally came down to for me is how hugely important these people were when they were alive. Also, in HK only a meager five plus pages covers the fifty years between the 1826 Erie Canal medal and the 1876 U.S. Centennial Expo. Numbers 305, 306, 306a, 306b, 308, 309, and 309a would all fit into this earlier time period. In lieu of the mostly yet to come large American fairs, these famous entertainers attracted intense interest. For some collectors, this decision of mine may be a leap of faith, but HK lacks clarity in this area. The listed Mark Twain medal HK-775, and perhaps others in Section C(Pages 147-150) are the same in kind. Not included here are medals commemorating Americans that probably had only local or perhaps regional recognition. Admittedly, that is a grey area. For those, Look Here.


 

305) Issued in 1834 to commemorate the great Shakespearean actor Edwin Forrest. In 1849, at least two dozen people died in a riot between theater goers over who was the better actor, himself or the English actor William Macready. During the early 19th century, theater performances were a very important form of entertainment, with the most famous of actors being highly revered. Very Rare bordering on Extremely Rare in silver, with one gold medal that was presented to the actor. Silver, 42.8mm. From the John Ford collection. Image Courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries www.stacksbowers.com

Edwin Eduino Forest Great In Mouths Of Wisest Censure 1834 Medal
 

306) Commemorating Jenny Lind's performance at Castle Garden, and the "First Concert In America", New York City September 1850. With great anticipation, she was met by 30,000 people upon her New York arrival. Found in white metal and copper, with perhaps the copper one being somewhat rarer. The white metal pieces are occasionally found holed. Combining both metals together, Very Rare. White metal, 42.3mm.

 

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Jenny Lind Castle Garden First Concert In America September 1850
 

306a) Revised description May 2021: General Tom Thumb was born Charles Stratton in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1838. Under the promotion of P.T. Barnum he eventually become very popular and highly successful. Ten thousand people attended his wedding reception in 1863, and twenty thousand attended his funeral in 1883. This medal and the one below were probably minted as a souvenir of his European tour, with many finding their way to the United States. It is sometimes referred to as a trade token - I guess more specifically it is similar to an advertisement or store card being that Tom Thumb was a PT Barnum promotion. In my view it is just as valid to call it a souvenir commemorative medal, and thus a so-called dollar. For reference, this and the piece below were included in an American "Privately Struck Medals" section of the John Ford Collection #9, May 10, 2005 that included the two above medals, HK1, HK2, HK297, and HK589. In exergue in tiny lettering: "Allen & Moore F: Birm. 1844". White metal, 38.4mm

General Tom Thumb Charles Stratton Chariot P T Barnum Medal
 

306b) Read above. White metal, 38.2mm

General Tom Thumb Charles Stratton Equipage P T Barnum Medal
 

307) 1852 Henry Clay. There are of course a number of Henry Clay political medals/tokens. This one is a memorial following his death. Clay was an unsuccessful candidate for president three times, in 1824, 1832, and 1844. Rare in white metal. Extremely Rare in silver. White metal, 43.3mm. Image Courtesy of Heritage Auctions www.ha.com

 

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Henry Clay Every End He Aimed At Was His Countrys Medal
 

307a) Another memorial medal following the death of Henry Clay. By George Lovett. Found in copper, white metal, brass, silver and maybe nickel. Very Rare in copper, white metal or brass. Extremely Rare in silver. 34mm. Image courtesy of Dave Baldwin at Lovett Tokens and Medals.

 
Henry Clay The Constitution The Union And Protection Home Industry Medal
 

308) "Thomas Sayers, The Champion Of England" Unlisted in HKs first edition, HK10b in the second edition. In tiny lettering: "F. B. Smith & Hartman N. Y.". "The Great International Prize Fight Between Heenan & Say....". Possibly rarer than it's Heenan counterpart. Very Rare. Copper, 34mm.

 

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Thomas Sayers Champion of England 1860 Prize Fight Medal
 

309) This somewhat crudely executed medal commemorates the crossing of Niagara Falls by Charles Blondin(born Jean Francois Gravelet) in the presence of the Prince of Wales Sept 14, 1860. Struck by J.W. Moore of Birmingham, England. Blondin was an amazing daredevil, crossing the falls many times, once blindfolded, another time on stilts. Found in white metal, but I found one described as being made of lead(Kurt Krueger sale #43 lot#1056). See below for the larger version. Rare bordering on Very Rare. White metal, 34.7mm

 

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Charles Blondin Daredevil The Hero Of Niagara 1860 Medal
 

309a) New addition 2021: A second medal, very similar to #309 (read above), but larger and of much higher quality. I was not aware of this medal until it showed up at Stacks Numismatic Americana sale March 2021, lot #1236. White metal and much rarer than #309 above. Extremely Rare, White metal. Described in the auction as being 44-45 mm. Image Courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries www.stacksbowers.com

Charles Blondin Daredevil Hero Of Niagara 1860 Medal
 

310) "Robert Fulton", from "Alfred S. Robinson's Historical Series No 2". Number 1 in this series is HK133. Minted sometime in the 1860s. Found in white metal, copper, brass and silver. Rare in bronze. Very Rare in either white metal or brass. Extremely Rare in silver(Heritage Auctions Sept. 16, 2006 lot#6860). Rulau Ct-Ha 19. Brass, 34.8mm(Rulau's description of 41mm is in error)

 

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Robert Fulton Steam Navigation On The Hudson River Medal
 

310a) Famous confederate Civil War commander Thomas Jonathan Stonewall Jackson birth/death medal. The obverse reads: "Lieut General T. J. Jackson-Stonewall". Found in Bronze and White Metal. Very to Extremely rare in either metal. White Metal, 38mm. Image Courtesy of Heritage Auctions www.ha.com

Lieutenant General Medal
 

310b) Unsure when this medal was minted but probably early 20th century. Thaddeus Stevens was an influential and often radical member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1849-1853, and again from 1859 until his death in 1868. He was a strong abolitionist and an advocate for the poor. He was largely responsible for articles of impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Rare. Brass, 33.9mm.

Thaddeus Stevens Champion Schools Friend Of Poor Down-Trodden Medal
 

310c) 1864 Civil War medal commemorating Major General Gouverneur Kemble Warren. The reverse reads "Commander Of The 5th Corps, Army Of The Potomac.". Warren graduated second in his class from West Point in 1850. An engineer by profession, he later went on to survey territory west of the Mississippi relating to the eventual transcontinental railroad. During the War he was promoted to brigadier general and was known for his successes but also his eventual resignation later in the war over dissatisfaction from Sheridan and Grant. Very Rare, Bronze, 40mm. Image courtesy of Randy Dobler.

Major General Warren Commander 5th Corps Army Potomac Medal
 

310d) Nicely executed Buffalo Bill Cody medal by James Andrew Restall of Birmingham England. No doubt made in conjunction with one of his many European tours. In small lettering around below: "Rd. No. 87687 J. A. Restall" Very Rare. Bronze. 38.4mm.

 

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Colonel Buffalo Bill Cody William Frederick J. A. Restall Medal
 

311) From the Middleweight Championship of the World held in Crescent City(New Orleans) March 8th, 1893. Bob Fitzsimmons successfully defended his title by knocking out Jim Hall in the 4th round. This is the only unlisted so called dollar boxing medal that I am aware of that squarely fits within HKs criteria (those listed in HK are #9, #10a, #272, #276, #277). See "The Numismatist" June 2015 for an article on other boxing medals and tokens by David Schenkman. Very Rare. Aluminum, 37.2mm.

 

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Bob Fitzsimmons Jim Hall Crescent City Athletic Club 1893 Boxing Medal
 

312) Commemorative of a Shakespearean revival held at "Fords Grand Opera House" in Baltimore in 1894. Creston Clark was the nephew of the late Edwin Booth. Edwin Booth is sometimes considered to be the greatest American actor of the 19th century. In a strange and twisted coincidence, his brother John Wilkes Booth shot president Lincoln. Rare in white metal. Very Rare in bronze. Rulau Bal 25. White metal, 37.9mm.

 

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Edwin Booth Creston Clark Shakespeare Fords Opera Baltimore Medal
 

313) This token was sold by John Krohn(Colonial Jack) for 10 cents each as he walked around the United States pushing his "Sphinx". There is an article about him and his journeys in the January 2008 edition of "The Numismatist". Very Scarce. Rare bordering on Very Rare unholed. Aluminum, 38.1mm.

 

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Colonial Jack John Krohn Walking And Pushing Sphinx Around US Medal
 

314) A Thomas Elder medal that should have been included in HK. According to Thomas DeLorey, found in silver, German silver, aluminum, copper, and brass. The piece shown here is from Heritage Auctions February 2008 and was described as bronze. Rare bordering on Very Rare in Aluminum. Extremely Rare in the other metals. DeLorey #15, 38.1mm. Image Courtesy of Heritage Auctions www.ha.com

 

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Robert Perry To The North Pole Thomas Elder 1909 Medal
 

314a) Ben Franklin birth-death medal, signed 1920 by A.P(Adam Pietz). Greenslet GM-189. According to Greenslet, can be found in eight different metals: brass, bronze, copper, gold, lead, nickel, silver, and white metal, with brass, bronze, copper, lead and white metal being the more common. Most are given a rarity of R-5 in Greenslet, but the only one I was able to locate in all of the catalogs that I looked through was one in silver from Presidential Coin and Antique sale #16 lot#655. All metal varieties together, Rare. 35mm. Image courtesy Jonathan Brecher

Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790 Printer Statesman Scientist Adam Pietz Medal
 

315) On August 17, 1927 Charles Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St Louis in Kansas City and dedicated New Richards Field(later renamed Kansas City Municipal Airport). His famous solo transatlantic flight occurred earlier that same year. Very Rare. Yellow bronze, 37.8mm

 

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Charles Lindbergh Airport Dedication Kansas City 1927 Medal
 

316) Unlisted in HKs first edition, but listed in the second edition as HK506a. Issued by the American Commemorative society as was HK506. "Telephone Diamond Jubilee / Alexander Graham Bell 1847 - 1922". Rare. Bronze, 38.2mm.

 
Alexander Graham Bell Telephone Diamond Jubilee 1951 Medal
 

317) Obverse the same as HK773 and HK774 but with a different reverse. "Washington And Lee University". In tiny lettering around below: "Robbins Co Attleboro". I have found this piece to have the same rarity as HK773, with HK774 being the most common of the three. Rare. Bronze, 35mm.

 

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Robert Edward Lee President of Washington and Lee University Medal

 

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