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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 9, February 26, 2006, Article 16

ON MEDAL CONDITIONS

Dick Johnson writes: "I must thank Ron Abler for his response
to my proposed new terminology for medal conditions. In this
instance, Ron, I was sincere. I would most certainly like to
see a different standard of condition terms for medals,
eschewing those used for coins. (The article was not tongue-in-cheek,
but does point out for serious writers not to do too many humorous
pieces. Would you ever take as serious anything written by Donn
Pearlman, official court jester at the Numismatist?)

Indeed, I had considered "mint state" for the highest degree
of medal condition. Then it dawned on me -- yes, some medals
are struck at mints, but many are not -- they are struck at
medal plants.

(The greatest arguments the officers at Medallic Art Co had
was with our advertising agency. They insisted we call outselves
a "mint."  We were just as insistant we were NOT a mint -- a mint
strikes coins -- we manufactured medals. Call us a medal maker;
a plant, a shop or even an "atelier" (French term for art studio)
but we did not want to be known as a mint.  The reason for this
was profit. How much profit could you make striking low value
coins? The Franklin Mint quickly learned this by only selling
low value coins in sets or in proof condition where a profit
could be obtained on such low value coins. National mints can
make a tiny profit because they do not pay taxes, private
industry does.)

Ron, I had expected the condition adjectives to be added to the
four terms I suggested -- pristine, mellow, haggard, eroded --
but not quite so quickly. Your willingness to pay more for
"high mellow" over "low mellow" surprised me.

I did foresee catalogers using the statement for a U.S. Mint
medal with a light 20th century finish struck in yellow bronze
in a mellow condition, calling it  ... "mellow yellow."
(Congratulations Donn Pearlman, my humor does not rise to
your level, your title remains intact!)"

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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