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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 51, December 16, 2007, Article 7

REVIEW: SOTHEBY LAFAYETTE GOLD ORDER OF THE SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI

Ray Williams writes: "I do so look forward to The E-Sylum
every Sunday!  Thank you!  I read and reread Alan Weinberg's
review of the Sotheby hardbound catalog for the Washington
Order of the Society of the Cincinnati Medal, and his post
seemed to have a mildly negative twist.  I was fortunate to
obtain a copy for my library and I'm thrilled with it!

"I don't specifically collect Medals, but I do own a few.
My interests are in colonial coinage, and all my colonial
collecting friends have a passion for the history of this
time period.  All medals have a place in numismatics and
this one is no exception.  Although I won't be attending
the auction  because of work obligations and the lack of
resources to bid on this item, I will be anxiously awaiting
a call from a friend to tell me how the auction proceeded.

"Alan describes the humble appearance of the box containing
the medal, as not being worthy of its contents.  The box is
just a side piece of history connected to the medal and I'm
just thrilled that something as perishable as this container
was preserved for more than 200 years.  He also makes comment
that, 'Numerous pertinent documents are also pictured giving
the casual reader the impression that the documents accompany
the medal. That is not true and one must carefully read the
footnotes to these documents' pictures to see the documents
are housed in historical societies and don't accompany the
Cincinnati badge.'

"I think most reading the catalog would realize immediately
that these were only historically related to the medal and
not part of the sale.  But then again, Charles Davis finds
it necessary in his eBay lot descriptions of books, to warn
potential bidders that only the book is for sale, not the
coins pictured on the pages!

"Alan, in his closing paragraph, thinks the medal won't sell.
I think it will sell and will bring a strong price!  It is a
great piece of American History with a direct connection with
one of my personal heroes - George Washington."

[Ray offered to wager Alan that the medal would sell, betting
a sandwich at the Carnegie Deli before the next Stack's auction
that they both attend.  I forwarded Ray's note to Alan, who
responded: "Change it to the Stage Deli near Carnegie's. Much
better food and the crowds there prove that."

Well, the lot sold Tuesday evening for $5,305,000.  So it
looks like Ray will be eating a fine sandwich and Rev. Spooner
is eating crow.

Alan had also predicted that if the item sold, it would NOT
go to a buyer in the numismatic fraternity.  Ray bet dessert
that it would.  So who was the buyer?  The New York Times
published a report Wednesday on the outcome of the auction.
Here are some excerpts.  -Editor]

A gold medal that was created for George Washington and
presented to the Marquis de Lafayette was auctioned at
Sotheby’s in Manhattan on Tuesday for a record $5.3 million,
and will remain in France after residing there for 183 years.

The enameled patriotic badge was bought by the Fondation
Josée et René de Chambrun at the Château La Grange, Lafayette’s
historic home 60 miles east of Paris.

The medal will be available to the public by appointment at
Chateau La Grange “as soon as Sotheby’s gets it there,” he
said, adding that “the Fondation would be happy to make the
medal available on temporary loan to Mount Vernon, so the
American public can see it as well.”

The hammer price of $4.7 million after the spirited 11-minute
auction — to which Sotheby’s added its premium or commission —
“was astonishing, 10 times the record public price for a medal,”
said Ute Wartenberg Kagan, executive director of the American
Numismatic Society in Manhattan.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[So there you have it - the medal sold for a princely sum to
a buyer outside the numismatic field. Ray Williams adds: "A
non-numismatic buyer, so we're even. I'll buy the cheesecake
and Alan will buy the sandwiches."  -Editor]

 CATALOGUE: SOTHEBY LAFAYETTE GOLD ORDER OF THE SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI
 esylum_v10n50a07.html

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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