Project Coordinator Len Augsburger offers observations related to content being searched for on the Newman Numismatic Portal. This week's search term is “New York
Horticultural Society”. -Editor
Tokens and medals are fertile ground for numismatic research. The fundamental questions of our discipline ask why an object was created, who created it and how manufactured, and finally how the
object was used or distributed. For a series of coins these questions might have all the same answers. For token and medals, each tends to stand on its own and each of the questions must be
This week a Newman Portal searched for “New York Horticultural Society,” and, while the search results are helpful, there is clearly more research to do on this particular object. The user was
almost certainly searching for award medals of this New York group, and a Newman Portal search identifies Presidential Coin and Antique’s Gold Medal Sale (December 1991, #51 in that series), lot 327.
From there the cataloger Joe Levine does the heavy lifting:
NEW YORK HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY AWARD MEDAL, 1857. 41.2mm. Silver. Struck by Wright & Bale. Extremely Fine. Obverse inscribed: NEW YORK HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY INSTITUTED 1818 around a rayed sun
shining down on a scene depicting a waterfall to the left and a pedestaled urn to the right flanked by a tree to the right and a flower to the left. The reverse contains a floral wreath surrounding
PRESENTED/TO and the engraved inscription: G. GABRIELSON/FOR THE BEST/FLORAL BASKET/JUNE 17TH, 1857. Below the wreath, at the bottom is the signature, W&B N.Y. This is an extremely rare medal. Our
search of 19th century auctions has revealed only one appearance, that in Chapmans' Isaac F. Wood Sale of American Medals, Lot #118. The medal there was described as "Presented 1859".
NASCA's sale of May 1987, Lot #1897, contained an About VF Silver medal engraved to P.T. Quinn, Sept. 21, 1859. It is likely that this is the same medal offered in the 1894 Wood Sale. This medal
realized $220. We are aware of only one other Silver medal in collector's hands. That piece is dated 1833, and is inscribed to "M Floy".
Levine addresses nearly every point of the numismatic inquiry. The question of why so few were produced remains, and for that one would likely have to comb through the archives of the New York
Horticultural Society. Also missing is an image of the object. Perhaps an E-Sylum reader could supply?
Image: Extract from the Isaac Wood catalog, lot 118, showing the purchaser as “Low” and the sale price of 65 cents.
Link to Presidential Coin and Antique sale #51:
Link to S. H. & H. Chapman’s sale of the Isaac Wood medal collection:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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