The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 44, October 21, 2012, Article 16


Last week Dick Johnson wrote about lists of medals for sale by the U.S Mint. Here's his follow-up. -Editor

I wish to publicly thank E-Sylum reader Bruce Bartelt. He responded to my appeal in last week's E-Sylum for info on U.S. Mint's mimeographed lists offering National Medals (aka "List Medals") for sale.

"Like you," he wrote "as a teenager I requested a copy from the Mint and ordered medals in the 1960's. But I actually saved the lists!

"I would hope someone else can come up with earlier examples, but for the record I have an undated one where the last dated medal is #657 - the U.S. Secret Service 100th Anniversary, 1966. (The latest presidential medal is LBJ and the Mint's address is given as "Philadelphia 30, PA", pre-dating ZIP codes.)"

Because I had attended the dedication of the new Mint Building in 1969 -- and had purchased a copy of the Failor-Hayden published list of Mint Medals, I assumed they would have no more need for those lists. Bruce disagreed.

"And the lists didn't end in 1969 as you wrote,' he stated "for I have another 'Effective October 1, 1970".'After that the Mint produced color-printed brochures listing medals at least into the Carter presidency, of which I have several."

These lists are useful for writers and medal historians for several reasons: documenting when a certain medal was first issued and at what price.

John Wayne medal Would you believe a 3-inch medal was selling at the Philadelphia Mint for $3.00 before 1980? A case in point. I was cataloging a collection this week that had a bronze John Wayne Congressional Medal. A college student I hire to help me asked about this medal.

Yes it was the movie star, but the medal has an interesting story. Two men here in Connecticut recognized an opportunity with such an attractive medal was available at such a low price. They purchased thousands from the Mint, had them gold plated, advertised them for $10 each in Sunday supplement newspapers and sold tens of thousands to the public.

But that is not the end of the story. A graphic layout artist I employed for my auction catalogs also had worked for these same two entrepreneurs. She told me they couldn't handle the sudden windfall profits they made selling the John Wayne Medals. They split after a bitter fight over money.

You are fortunate if you have one of those John Wayne Medals in your collection -- bronze or goldplated. It was modeled by Frank Gasparro and is List #666. Oh yes, 3-inch bronze medals from the Mint are now $39.95.

PS; I'm still in need of information on earlier lists.

Last week Dick Johnson wrote, "So these mimeograph lists could have been issued intermittently from 1861 to 1968." Bob Leonard pointed out a problem with this statement. -Editor

Bob Leonard writes:

Dick cannot literally mean "mimeograph" lists as early as 1861, since the process was not invented until 1876 and typed stencils are much later than that. Early lists of medals for sale would have been printed.

Correct. I should have edited that word out in a couple places. But as Dick notes, his quest remains valid and we're still hoping for a response from readers. When was the first such list issued? Who was the first person to use the term "list medals" for these medals? Thanks, everyone!

In my ephemera collection I have an October 1862 U.S. mint pricelist titled "List of Medal Dies of a Public Character." I sent Dick a photocopy of it in 2003. That was before we started using images in The E-Sylum, so I made a scan tonight. Readers can view the images below. Click on it to see a larger version on our Flickr archive. Does anyone have an earlier one? -Editor

U.S. Mint medal list 1862 front U.S. Mint medal list 1862 inside

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: RESEARCHER SEEKS FIRST LIST OF MEDALS FOR SALE BY U.S. MINT (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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