The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 40, October 1, 2006, Article 6


Regarding Dick Johnson's comments on a recent eBay auction, Lee Childs
writes: "I am the "foolish" bidder and winner of the coin or medallion
commemorating the opening of the Cape Cod Canal. Apparently there exist
plenty of other fools in the collecting world because lots of folks bid
on this coin, and after I won it, I've had offers for double what I
paid for it. Actually, I feel sorry for the seller of the coin in 2001
that only got $46 for his -- perhaps it was not marketed correctly at
the time or maybe it's the power of eBay now.

Plus (and I knew this would be a bonus for winning this piece), I've
gotten more than $50,000 worth of publicity for me and my jazz band --
all for a mere $967 (plus shipping). I mean, the phone has been ringing
of the hook with people trying to book the band for various functions,
all because they read about the medal and who it was sold to in the
local newspapers. And your writer called me foolish; yeah right -
all the way to the bank.

And I find it interesting that he mentions that there are 25 silver
coins that you call rare, yet there seem to be perhaps eight, nine,
or ten of the bronze pieces and you only call them scarce - truly an
odd bit of logic. But I will allow this much, Reed and Barton did
supposedly make silver and gold versions of this coin for August
Belmont, but absolutely nobody, at least around these parts, knows
of the existence of even one piece of either metal. Do you know if
one exists or do you think that perhaps they were melted down at
some point in time?

I would foolishly really like to obtain one of these pieces if one
were to ever turn up.  This medal and ones like it have great
sentimental value for me and lots of others here on Cape Cod and
one cannot put a value on that fact. Also, I see that someone paid
1,700 pounds for a 1900 Independent Scottish Football Network medal.
How come he didn't call that transaction foolish?   Sounds plain dumb
to me.  Respectfully and foolishly, Lee Childs (foolish collector
of coins, insulators, bottles, firearms, etc.)"

[I corresponded with Lee and thanked him for his tongue-in-cheek
response.  As an editor I hesitated to allow the word "foolish" in
Dick's article, but he was trying to make a general point rather
than pick on any individual.  Links to Dick's article and the
original E-Sylum piece about the sale follow.

To clarify the question of rarity, Dick noted that 25 examples
were STRUCK in silver.  It is likely that far more were struck
in bronze.  As Dick notes, at least nine bronze examples are known,
but it's unclear if any silver ones are known.  Thus, it is
believed that surviving silver examples are much more rare than
the bronze.  -Editor]

Lee adds: "I would really like to hear from anyone familiar with
these medals as would the Hy-Line Cruise Co. They would like to
make a plaque to display on their canal cruise vessel regarding
the medals and their history.  I can be reached at P.O. Box 807,
Dennis, MA 02638, by phone at 508-362-4289 or email:"

[I put Dick Johnson in touch with Lee and he wrote: "The key words
in my E-Sylum statement were "knowledgeable" and "unknowledgeable."
Had you done some research before bidding -- or asked a specialist
medal dealer - you would have learned the price history of this medal.
It comes on the market every year or so and sells in the $40 to $60
range. Then if you wanted that particular medal so badly, it would
NOT have been "foolish" to bid as high as you wish.

However, the more prudent move would be to let this one pass and
pick up the next one that comes on the market, at, perhaps, less
than $100. Had you contacted me, I think I have one in my leftover
inventory when I retired from being a medal dealer. I wouldn't have
bothered to dig it out for the $100 but if you offered me say $200
it would have been worthwhile digging through ten boxes of old

You must recognize now you must hold that medal for a considerable
length of time before the market rises to the level you paid for it
(if ever). Unless you donate it to a museum, where you can document
the price you paid for it, you will not recover the true value of
that piece (despite your statements you have already received offers
of "double what you paid for it." How many times have I heard that -
but proved to be unsubstantiated? )

Unless you do something with this medal during your lifetime, the
executor of your estate will probably sell it at the market value
at that point in time.

Now I must compliment you and the Hy-Line Cruise Co. for wanting to
build an exhibit around this medal. But a single medal is not that
"showy." My advice is to have a large replica made of the original
medal - yours or mine - of both the obverse and reverse. These metal
replicas are called "galvanos" and when mounted on a wood base make
an exceptional display! Try first to see of Reed & Barton has the
original model. If not it can be enlarged from a medal. If Reed &
Barton cannot do this enlargement, I could recommend a firm that does
this kind of work. Figure on at least a $1,000 cost, and should you
donate this to the cruise ship, hey, you might get another $50,000
worth of publicity!

Question: Is this your first medal among your collections of coins,
insulators, bottles, and firearms? If so, welcome to the field of
medal collecting; you will find it far more interesting than, perhaps,
some of your other collectables."



  Wayne Homren, Editor

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