Last week Dick Hanscom asked about the U.S. Mint's Capt. Biddle medal, wondering "When did the mint stop selling these medals or are they still available?"
Dick Johnson writes:
I too, would like a precise date in which the U.S. Mint closed out all back issues of 19th century List Medals.
In the 1980s Mint Director Donna Pope ordered certain remaining list medals packaged as Grab Bags -- three or four to a bag and sold these at slightly reduced prices below the then list prices for these medals. I bought half a dozen of these bags and opened all but two I believe, placing these in my stock of List Medals for sale. I still have one or two bags unopened as evidence of the Mint's arbitrary action.
Obviously the remainders were in uneven quantities. These were of the lesser popular medals. I presume the Washington and Lincoln medals had long since sold out.This action by the Mint effectively halted striking of some medals that had been struck and sold to the public for over 150 years.
Perhaps this unprecedented action caused the depressed price of Mint medals for a time. I remember buying hundreds of 3-inch U.S. Mint medals at $3 each wholesale. The Mint was unrealistic in their pricing of these, selling them at $6 and $8 each for a 3-inch medal when it was costing private mints $15 to $18 to strike a similar size medal.
By closing out all the large size List Medals it forced the sale of mini-size coin-relief president medals at a dollar each. Mary Brooks was proud of her action in the creation of those coin-relief U.S. President mini medals. It was for the kids, she claimed.
But there was no secondary market for these dollar medals and dealer buying prices dropped rather quickly to 20c to 25c.They are still a drug on the market thirty years later. (Please, do not ship any to me of any quantity, I no longer buy these! Send 'em to Mary Brooks!)
Ron Ward writes:
The "Sandblast" strikings of the Biddle Medal were listed as number 518, price $6.00, in "Medals of the United States Mint Issued for Public
Sale", Department of the Treasury, Revised 1972. I believe these were available until the mid-1980s. Other Naval mint medals show up from time to time on e-Bay with a price averaging $30.00.
Dick managed to find some more online information about the medal on Ben Weiss' web site.
To read the complete article, see:
CAPTAIN JAMES BIDDLE
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
QUERY: U.S. MINT CAPT. BIDDLE MEDAL
Wayne Homren, Editor
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