Alan V. Weinberg writes:
I'm quite familiar with this approx 38 mm brass medal as I've owned perhaps three or four over the decades and seen it at shows and occasionally on eBay. It is indeed scarce - I'd estimate the known population at easily less than 75 pieces. Although it is looped at the top for suspension, I've never seen it with an attached ribbon or suspension bar.
My guess is it was struck by Whitehead & Hoag Newark, N.J. although it only says in tiny letters "Pat. Applied For."
There are a very few other metallic and celluloid pinback novelties pertaining to black Americans serving in the two World Wars - I'd estimate a total of perhaps 10-15 different items, not alot. Market value of this WWI medal to a knowledgable collector? - probably about $65. Were this a U.S. coin, it'd be worth $10,000+ based on its rarity. This is one of the pleasures of collecting affordable and rare exonumia.
You are welcome to share selected links below with our readers and all with Mr. Broyard. I have had an interest of Black American history since eighth grade and was a member of the NAACP for a number of years.
A guide to looking for information about World War I army veterans.
The links below are excellent research tools for Black American history in WWI.
A recommended book:
Hell Fighters: African American Soldiers in World War I
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WWI MEDAL FOR "OUR COLORED HEROES"
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