In an article first published in the September 26, 2011 Expert Advice section of Coin World, John Kraljevich Jr. explores an enigmatic medal from South Carolina. Here are some excerpts. Read the complete article online at coinworld.com.
One of the beauties of coins and medals as collectibles is that most are fairly easy to identify. As long as they’re legible and you understand the language of the inscription, a coin or medal typically says where it’s from, and who made it and when. This is perhaps one of the appeals of our field. It offers sure things in a world that offers few.
One of the most fascinating medals of the Colonial era, however, has befuddled numismatists for more than a century and a half.
Despite an inscription that includes a city, a date and even an issuing authority, the rare Charleston Social Club medal still suffers from something of an existential crisis. We don’t know what it is or why it exists, only that it is historic and very rare.
As early as 1856, Boston numismatist Jeremiah Colburn wrote to antiquarians in Charleston trying to figure out which club produced the medals, and he even managed to find the last surviving member of a group called the Charles Town Social Club. No one knew a thing about the medals. The trail has only gotten colder since.
We know they’re old. One has a provenance going back to the 1817 sale of the Thomas Brand Hollis Collection, sold after the collector’s death in 1804.
Today, only three are thought to exist. The most recent sale of one, by Stack’s in 2006, realized $57,500. Clearly, the mystery of the medal isn’t holding back its value in the marketplace.
To read the complete article, see:
An enigmatic medal
Wayne Homren, Editor
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