The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 12, March 24, 2013, Article 10


Several readers responded on the topic of post-1892 U.S. Mint medals. Thanks! -Editor

Jonathan Brecher writes:

There is an appendix in the back of R. W. Julian's book that continues the mintage reports to the 1903/04 fiscal year. He continued those reports in several issues of the TAMS journal in the mid-1980s, writing in his preface to the series:

"In 1977 The Token and Medal Society published Medals of the United States Mint, the First Century. This book contains mintage figures, where obtainable, from 1855 through June 30, 1904. In order to provide a trial listing of pieces made after that date, we are continuing in this issue a series of mintage reports on an annual basis.

Only those medals not sold publicly by the mint (i.e. not a 'list' medal) will be published in the present series. It is intended to publish the list medals at some future date, but only in summary form. Information is presently at hand for the bronze issues through 1916, and the gold and silver until 1923."

Unfortunately, even with those restrictions the listings are "terse" at best. For example one entry reports that a silver "Alumni" medal was produced on May 11, 1915, with a weight of .58 (unnamed units). That's just not a whole lot to go on to identify what medals were actually struck.

The standard reference for list meals was published by Failor -- Medals of the United States Mint Issued For Public Sale, but it is really more of a sales catalog than a historical record.

Recent books by Dean and Swoger were discussed in earlier E-Sylum articles. Those books catalog National Commemorative Medals. Many of those medals were produced at the US Mint after 1892, although they represent only a tiny part of the total US Mint medal production in that period.

I am not aware of any other catalogs of post-1892 US Mint medals. I would be interested if anyone else had other information.

Greg Adams has more information on the books. He writes:

I know of three books that have tackled this question:

“National Commemorative Medals of the United States of America since 1873” by William Swoger (Very Nice book, but expensive)


“National Commemorative Medals of the United States Mint” 2nd ed Copyright 1972 by John T. Dean

And finally, the Treasury Department issued: “Medals of the United States Mint Issued for Public Sale” 1st printing 1969, Revised 1972

I have copies of the last two listed, and have borrowed a copy of the first from the ANA Library. All three are very useful books for anyone interested in mint medals.

Harry Waterson writes:

There are a few books that have some post-1892 medallic information:

Failor, Kenneth M. and Eleonora Hayden - Medals Of The United States Mint, Issued For Public Sale; Revised 1972, US Government Printing Office, Wash., DC 1972

Pessolano-Filos, Francis- Venus Numismatics Dictionary of Artists, Designers, Modellers, Engravers, and Die Sinkers whose works were commissioned by or struck by the United States Mint 1792-1977, 1983

-Assay Medals and Assay Commissions, 1841-1977, 1984

-Medals of the Presidents, Secretaries of the Treasuries, and Directors of the US Mint, 1789-1981, 1987

I think Dick Johnson has already compiled a list of Mint medals that is probably the most extensive yet done.

Excellent sources. - good starting points for a future author. Thanks. -Editor

Rich Hartzog writes:

The book is "Medals of the United States Mint, The First Century 1792-1892", which was issued by the Token and Medal Society. They paid too much to have it printed, priced it incorrectly and quickly gave up on selling it. I bought some 2300 of the 3000 copies issued, and I now believe I will live long enough to see it out of print, having sold virtually the entire supply. Julian has stated he quit at 1892 as most Mint records thereafter had been destroyed. Over the past several decades I've had a couple of people state they were working on subsequent years, but I've never seen anything (and one researcher has passed on). I did issue two supplemental Price Guides under my name, and I have plans for an updated one "sometime".

The only real "modern" Mint medal book is the recent "National Commemorative Medals of the United States" book by Bill Swoger. It covers post-1873 Congress and US Mint authorized medals struck at the Mint, with the original legislation wording, history, mintages, color photos, etc. Obviously not as comprehensive as Julian, but an excellent work. Both are available from me at

Dave Schenkman adds:

Neil Harris, who was the TAMS book editor at the time (1977), was responsible for the project and he had the printing done by R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co. It was a very expensive project, but it certainly was a quality book!

Heath MacAlpine writes:

I have to agree with Bruce Smith; a work on the post 1892 medallic issues of the United States Mint is long overdue. I've been working on and off on putting together a collection of modern issues and the reference material is thin.

There's Medals of the United States Mint Issued for Public Sale, published by the Treasury Department in 1969 and revised in 1972. It overlaps with Julian's book and runs through the Nixon administration. It's essentially a sales catalog detailing those issues then available from the Mint, consisting of photos of the medals then being sold with a brief description of the obverse and reverse and fairly lengthy biographies or accounts of the individuals or events portrayed. Not really very much at all about the medals, this serves as an out of date check list of mint issues.

I also use a copy of John Dean's National Commemorative Medals of the United States Mint. This is a narrower, but more detailed, work focusing on these substitutes for the commemorative half dollar series and covers issues from 1940 through 2003. This is the first edition; I believe the now available second edition brings things up to date. This is more like a modern coin reference, with somewhat better information on each issue and details regarding sub-types, mintages, and rarities.

My final reference is Congressional Gold Medals 1779-2012 by Matthew Eric Glassman for the Congressional Research Service. This was apparently conceived as a combination history/how to for Congressmen who wanted to know more about the process of sponsoring a medal for the worthies of their choice. This has the advantage of being on line, free, and current, and the disadvantage of not being aimed at collectors as well as lacking such basics as photos.

None of these works are comprehensive, all-encompassing references of the medallic output of the Mint. While we all regret the apparent destruction of mint records during the 1970's that might have made it easier to put together the needed material, it's amazing on how little information is available on even recent works (anyone know the final production figures on the Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson medal or have a photo of the Laurence Spelman Rockefeller medal?).

As a starting point, I think an online photo inventory of the medals would be beneficial. I wonder if there are any other collectors of these issues who would care to collaborate. Perhaps we could ask that the Medal Collectors of America host it on their website at .

The Glassman reference was our Featured Web Page on July 3, 2011. To read it, see: Congressional Gold Medals, 1776-2012 ('0E%2C*PL%5B%3C%230%20%20%0A)

Pete Smith writes:

Some time back I started to write a book on "Medals of the United States Mint: The Second Century 1892-1992." Many medals struck in the first century, 1792-1892, continued to be struck into the next century. The book by Failor, "Medals of the United States Mint" revised in 1972, is a good reference but is now 40 years out of date. A couple of books have been written on the National Commemorative Medals. There are a number of additional medals that are not included in any published reference.

I had a manuscript of more than 100 pages that is now abandoned. I don't expect to do any more on that project. I would be happy to see someone else take on the project and actually publish.

I did publish "Laws of the U. S. Congress Authorizing Medals" which is now out of date and superseded by the books on National Commemorative Medals.

Maybe this E-Sylum topic will encourage someone to pick up the baton! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: CATALOG OF POST-1892 MEDALS OF THE U.S MINT? (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster