Ron Abler submitted the following note in response to our earlier discussion of the similarities and similar roots of coin and button manufacturing. This is another item that somehow slipped between the cracks last week - sorry! -EditorDick Johnson.s observation about the close relationship between buttons and coins is spot-on and holds even more closely between buttons and medals. Medals, like coins, have not only their manufacturers and manufacturing methods in common with buttons, but medals and buttons also often share their subject matter.
Take for example the U.S. Centennial of 1876 and especially the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The number of Expo souvenirs that were sold for that event is truly astonishing. The medals, of course, get the most attention from modern-day exonumists, but they were easily outnumbered by die-struck buttons, studs, pins, badges, cuff links, lockets, belt buckles, and even suspender snaps.
Mr. Johnson is right. It is striking (pun intended) how similar these mementos are in their manufacture: die-struck obverses with a dazzling array of reverses and/or shapes that betray their intended purpose. An Expo visitor with no numismatic bias might actually conclude that the medals could be defined simply as two-faced die-struck souvenirs with no discernible utilitarian purpose!
Wayne Homren, Editor
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