As a medal collector who particularly enjoys acquiring awarded medals and researching the individuals whose names are engraved on them, I enjoyed the
article concerning the engraved Columbian half. However, I am dubious that Mr. Bachman has found the A.W. Shaw who originally owned the coin. Shaw is a
relatively common name and the only other information we have are initials, not even a full first name.
I only feel confident that I have correctly identified the recipient of an awarded medal if the inscribed portion of the medal includes such information as
the recipient's occupation or place of residence or name of his/her school or college and, of course, that information must match or be consistent with
what I have discovered about the likely recipient from such sources as city directories, census records, school and college alumni directories, military
service records, and newspaper articles. It also helps if the recipient has an uncommon first or last name. Fortunately, huge amounts of information are
available online at no cost (e.g. from familysearch.com) or online at local public libraries.
To avoid the disappointment of purchasing an awarded medal and then being unable to find out anything about the recipient, I try to do a little preliminary
research before making a purchase and only if I am pretty sure I have found the right person do I buy or bid on an awarded medal unless the medal's other
attributes are such that I will be happy with it even if I can never an identify the recipient with any certainty.
Mr. Bachman has acquired a nice example of a historically significant coin that has the added attribute of having an attractive addition made by or for
someone who obviously treasured it for many years. A good find for sure regardless of whether or not the original owner can ever be identified.
All quite true. Without any accompanying documentation or more information from the coin itself it's very hard to make a solid determination. Shaw is
indeed a common name, but these Michigan towns were small and a check of the city directories might reveal only one A. W. Shaw. Still, the fact that the coin
was found in that area is circumstantial and it could have originated from anywhere. It's a big country with a lot of potential A. W. Shaws. As Jerome
notes, it's a nice piece regardless. -Editor
It is true, it's all circumstantial evidence. From the info I have found, I am still hopeful that a solid piece if evidence might emerge. It's a
long shot that I will ever find concrete proof that it belonged to him. From all of the searches that I have entered on A. W. Shaw's that were alive in
that time frame, I only found 1 other who was alive in 1893, and he was much older, and lived in California. I still have some digging to do, but it's a
lot of fun.