Harry Waterson published an article titled "Two Faces of Ben Franklin - Mystery, Confusion and Discovery" (about two similar versions of a medal featuring Ben
Franklin) in the October 2019 issue of The Clarion, the official publication of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN). With permission, here is an excerpt.
Thanks to Harry and Clarion Editor Richard Jewell. -Editor
Here is The Saturday Evening Post (SEP) 200th Anniversary (1728-1928) medallion by Kilenyi
This is a 4-inch bronze medallion with Ben Franklin on the obverse and the home of Curtis Publishing on the reverse. 4,200 were struck by Whitehead & Hoag, Newark, NJ in
1928. It is Greenslet #GM-140
GM-140 COMMEMORATING THE / 200 TH ANNIVERSARY / THE SATURDAY / EVENING POST / FOUNDED BY / BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
The Saturday Evening Post is currently a bimonthly magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969. While the publication traces
its historical roots to Benjamin Franklin, The Pennsylvania Gazette was first published in 1728 by Samuel Keimer. The following year (1729), Franklin acquired the Gazette from
Keimer for a small sum and turned it into the largest circulation newspaper in all the colonies. It continued publication until 1815. The Saturday Evening Post was founded
in 1821 and grew to become the most widely circulated weekly magazine in America. The medallion was the cover art for the December 15, 1928 issue, the Two Hundredth Anniversary
Number and was a fixture on its masthead thereafter for decades.
At this point the cataloguing gets muddled. Greenslet lists varieties GM-139 and 139A. Both are 4-inch medallions just like the SEP medallion but with different inscriptions on
the reverse GM-139 THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY / THE SATURDAY EVENING POST / LADIES' HOME JOURNAL / COUNTRY GENTLEMAN / INDEPENDENCE SQUARE / PHILADELPHIA, PA. GM-139A THE
CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY / THE SATURDAY EVENING POST / LADIES' HOME JOURNAL / COUNTRY GENTLEMAN / JACK AND JILL· HOLIDAY / CURTIS CIRCULATION COMPANY / INDEPENDENCE SQUARE /
PHILADELPHIA, PA. Greenslet only illustrates the obverse of GM-139 and the reverse of GM-139A
Since Greenslet numbers these two medallions ahead of the Anniversary medallion, the assumption is that these two medallions were struck prior to The Saturday Evening
Post 1928 medallion. This is not true.
GM-139 The publications listed on this reverse all existed prior to 1928 so it is possible this medallion exists but an example has never been seen or catalogued. This has been
an object of intense search in auction catalogs, books, periodicals, the Curtis Archives, the Newman Portal and the press. The Curtis Publishing Company Building on the reverse of
the medallion was completed in 1921 so the span of time the medallion could have been issued and predate the Anniversary medallion was 1921 to1927. Melvin & George Fuld do not
catalog this medallion. To add to the confusion Greenslet assigns to GM-139 the Fuld # for GM-139A. This is all circumstantial but the writer believes GM-139 does not exist. This
is not to say Phil Greenslet made a mistake but he maybe presumed the medallion should exist so he catalogued it as if it did. Or he knew of one but didn't know it was the
GM-139A This medallion does exist. Illustrated above. The Curtis Publishing Company medallion is easy to date from the internal evidence. Jack and Jill was first
published in 1938 and Holiday was started in 1946. The Curtis Circulation Company was organized in October, 1946. This medallion must then date from 1946 or slightly later.
It could not predate the SEP medallion.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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