Paul Cunningham submitted this background on his new book on Lincoln numismatica, Lincoln’s Metallic Imagery. Thanks! -Editor
The project to update Robert King’s Lincoln in Numismatics was hatched some 30 years ago, with a not-too-serious question to Fred
Reed III, “Fred, Why don’t you revise King’s Lincoln in Numismatics?” And Fred came back with, why don’t you?”
This project stuck in a corner of my brain until about 2005. I mulled over the whole idea and decided to ask some friends of mine to
help make “it” happen. I asked Fred, David Schenkman and Kathy Lawrence to help and they said yes. We would work on this project as a TAMS
After a lot of foot-dragging and foul language, we made timid steps forward, all the time wondering why we would try such a daunting
As we tried to flesh out costs, we came to the conclusion that TAMS did not have the financial ability to print another book at this
time. The project was shelved for a while but I volunteered to take up the project on my own nickel. Fred, Dave and Kathy were still
interested and stayed “aboard.”
Fred’s contributions, by any measure, were just magnificent. As a long-time collector and Lincoln-phile, Fred was the perfect associate.
He sent loads of great Lincoln pictures, all metal, to use at my discretion. He shared with me his research on several topics, like the
four different camera views, one of which would be recognized as Brenner’s cent and the various large plaques, each of which would
demonstrate the Gettysburg Address in one of the four recognized versions of the Address! He would offer his ideas and thoughts on anything
Kathy’s help was –ephemeral! While commenting on this or that she would suggest something, like a different word to describe something
or a phrase that made more sense than what I had done.
Dave’s contributions were more like a batter in a “clean-up spot” or a defensive back chasing down a runaway halfback. He gave the
manuscript a final examination, pointing out things that had been overlooked.
The overall effort was slowed when we heard of Fred’s illness in December of 2013. He was totally disabled and we all thought the worst.
Fred, meanwhile, had been making remarkable progress in rehabilitation all the time and today is able to read and communicate in his
family. I want to thank these three and my younger daughter, Laura, who did all the formatting and photography massaging, and the scores of
people and businesses who contributed listings or pictures for the final product.
The book project is done! The printer is expecting to put the finished books on a truck to Michigan this week. We are all relieved to
see it done!
When I was teaching in public schools in Michigan, we often talked of doing projects or learning experiences happening in 20 minutes.
Staying focused on one job for nearly 10 years was hard work!
In doing the book, I have learned more about Lincoln than I can process! I have learned the background of the gold death medal (9-01X),
which was financed by the people of France and presented to Mary Lincoln after the assassination. Did you know that the Emperor of France
would not allow the medal to be struck in France?
The Grand Old Army held annual conventions for many years after the War ended. This was a particularly attractive medal (11-970) for the
G.A.R meeting in Salt Lake City in 1909, Lincoln’s birth centennial year.
The medal (13-12) celebrating the Rebild National Park in Denmark is quite unusual; it commemorates the meeting of the largest July 4
celebration outside the United States!
The Republican conventions would honor Lincoln many times; this badge (14-34) had Lincoln under glass, on a metallic frame.
The Pullman Company, famous for its railroad cars, issued this small award (19-72) with Lincoln’s effigy on it. The Pittsburg Press
(earlier on) and Pittsburgh (later) awarded Lincoln essay medals from about 1910 to 1930, all in even-numbered years; the Press awarded
medals in odd-numbered years for what famous American?
The Boy Scouts were always marching around! Some of these badges (23-203) were awarded for completing a 17 mile hike. When I was a boy
scout, I had an opportunity to do one of these hikes; I graciously declined!
Our Friend Robert Julian produced four of these “comment” medals (30-52); this one inquired about our energy concerns.
One of the few non-metallic items in the book (35-33) was this convention badge; very attractive but not metal!
Another non-Lincoln medal (36-65), this was given to Captain Edward P. Doherty of the 16th New York Cavalry; he led a group of 29
soldiers which tracked down and captured John Wilkes Booth and an accomplice several days after the assassination. The solid gold pin-bar
and the hanging solid gold medal are presented for photographic purposes with a modern ribbon. Of all the Lincoln stuff that I had myself
photographed, this medal was the most impressive - Just think, this medal was awarded to the guy who caught the guy who killed the
I want to thank Fred, Dave and Kathy and my younger daughter, Laura, who did all the formatting and photographic massaging, and the
scores of people and businesses who contributed listings or pictures for the final product.
For ordering information, see Paul's ad for the book elsewhere in this issue. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
BOOK PREVIEW: LINCOLN'S METALLIC IMAGERY
Wayne Homren, Editor
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