A January 14, 2017 Numismatic News Express article by Editor Dave Harper confirms that there will not be an official inaugural medal this year.
While at the Florida United Numismatists convention Jan. 5-8 I learned from retired congressman Jimmy Hayes that there will be no official inaugural medal for President Donald Trump. I had been hoping against hope that the low-key approach to inaugural medals taken by the two Barack Obama inaugural committees in 2009 and 2013 would be improved upon this year. Instead, the low-key approach has turned into a no-medal-at-all approach.
It is the passing of a century of tradition.
Trump ran on a platform of shaking things up. Not having an official inaugural medal is certainly shaking up this small corner of the numismatic collectible market.
The fact no official inaugural medal will be made in 2017 does not mean there will not be medals sold by private firms to commemorate the swearing in of a new President.
Hayes, who has handled the commissioning of such pieces for some past administrations, noted that inaugural medals were fund-raisers for the political parties. No official medal means no funds for the party. However, unofficial medals will route whatever income stream sales generate to the firm or individual that offers them. There are likely to be more than one of these privately produced medal offers. I have not seen any yet, but you might have already seen one before this column is published.
While having the official inaugural medal designation would give a medal a certain cache, the absence of an official designation does not necessarily make any of the new medals to be issued any less collectible.
I have held a number of past inaugural medals in my hand. They have heft. I have even bought a couple, but I do not consider myself a collector of them. I recall that I even gave a silver one as a gift.
But more than anything, an inaugural medal indicates the passing of another four years and a renewal of hope for the country.
Is this tradition now gone for good? It has only been around since William McKinley in 1901. Perhaps it is time for a new private tradition. Whether it might be we will have to wait and see.
It was a shame to see the Assay medal tradition go by the wayside. Now Inaugural medals, too? I'm confident the private sector will somehow fill (or even overfill) the void, but it is a shame not to have an official inaugural medal. Perhaps the tradition will return in four or eight years time.
To read the complete article, see:
No official inaugural medal – sad
Wayne Homren, Editor
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