Dick Johnson submitted this request for assistance. Can anyone help him locate the information?
It is well documented when the Philadelphia Mint established a "Medal Department" for the sale of national medals to the public. This was in February 1861 despite the fact collectors had been buying such medals long before that date.
Bob Julian relates that 16 New York City numismatists wrote a letter to Mint Director James Ross Snowden on January 17, 1861 to establish such a department. Snowden acceded to their demand. [Page 26, Introduction, Medals of the United States Mint.]
This formalized selling national medals to anyone who desired to acquire these.
My question is: How did the public learn what medals were for sale? How were the medals publicized?
We know that later these were offered for sale by mimeographed lists, listing medal name, composition, size and price. These were sent by the Mint to anyone who requested. (As a teenager I did just that, but the list was such apparent ephemera that it has long since disappeared.)
In fact, all medals offered for sale by the U.S. Mint are referred to as List Medals because of these former mimeograph sheets. The practice halted in 1969 when all the national medals for sale were published in the Failor and Hayden book "Medals of the United States Mint."
So these mimeograph lists could have been issued intermittently from 1861 to 1968. If they are not dated it can be easily determined by the latest presidential medal listed.
Second question: When was the first such list issued? Third question: Who was the first person to use the term "list medals" for these medals?
If you own one kindly email me the apparent date. Thanks.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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