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    Description

    1893 Columbian Exposition Medal, MS63 Prooflike
    Believed Unique Discovery of America Gold Medal
    Presented to President Grover Cleveland

    1893 Columbian Exposition Gold Medal, Eglit-36A, Similar to HK-156 and HK-157, MS63 Prooflike NGC. 171.0 grams, 58.7 mm. Reeded Edge. Maier Weinschenk (1834-1905) and William Boldenweck (1851-1922), both of Chicago, submitted design patents 20,195 and 20,196 for the obverse and reverse designs of this medal, and both were approved on October 7, 1890 for a term of 3.5 years. The original patents including drawings of the two "faces" of the medal, described in detail in the patents. From patent 20,195:

    "The drawing represents a front view of the design and illustrates two cardinal events in the history of America. The upper portion of the drawing represents the first cardinal event, viz: the discovery of America by Columbus. The lower portion of the drawing represents the second cardinal event, viz: the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth."



    And from patent 20,196:

    "The drawing represents a front view of the design. The upper portion consists of a pictorial representation of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Immediately below this picture is a scroll extending across the face of the medal. Occupying the lower central portion of the design and partly overlapping the scroll and picture described above is an eagle surmounting a shield, and at each side of the shield and eagle is a portrait, as shown."



    These important medals that tell the history of America from the discovery of Christopher Columbus, to the landing of the Pilgrims, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A large and heavy gold medal, the design is unique in that composition, while others are known in copper or bronze, white metal, and aluminum. The Chicago firm, Boldenweck and Company, produced these medals in two sizes, 37 mm. and 58 mm.

    Alan V. Weinberg comments: Ex Israel Switt - the original owner of the ten 1933 double eagles, and found in the back of his Philadelphia safe. An utterly extraordinary, high-quality, heavy yellow gold (apparently 23 karat) medal that was apparently hand-finished by a Chicago jeweler who hand-scalloped the rims and finely reeded the edge. Absolutely unique with but one single auction record (Bowers & Merena) and previously unknown. One of the most impressive late 19th century medals I've ever seen.

    Eglit-36 and 36A. Nathan Eglit recorded two sizes for this design and assigned number 36 to the small size (37 mm.) medal that was produced in white metal with a "milled edge" and assigned number 36A to the large size (58 mm.) medal that was struck in white metal and aluminum. Eglit was unaware of this unique gold version of the large diameter medal. The author of Columbiana, the Medallic History of Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Exposition of 1893, Eglit noted that large size white metal piece has the edge inscribed "Boldenweck & Co. Pat'd Oct. 7, 1890." Maier Weinschenk and William Boldenweck received design patents 20,195 and 20,196 for the two faces of the medal.

    Eglit incorrectly identified the designer as Robert Lovett based on the appearance of the initials R.L. on the reverse of the small size medal. However, Lovett died in 1879 and was clearly not involved in the production of this piece. In the revision So-Called Dollars by Hibler and Kappen, Rudolph Laubenheimer of New York city is identified as a possible designer.

    Presentation Medal. On May 1, 1893, Maier Weinschenk and William Boldenweck delivered an address to President Grover Cleveland, presenting the historical world's fair medal in gold at the dedication of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. An article appeared in the May 14, 1893 issue of the San Francisco Call Bulletin, explaining the presentation:

    "When President Cleveland visited Chicago last week Mayor Harrison cast about to see what he could select for a present for the distinguished visitor. Finally he selected the Boldenweck medal and had one cast in sold 23-karat gold at a cost of over $300. This he presented to Mr. Cleveland in the name of Chicago, and the President admired it, expressing his unqualified approval of its excellency. The Boldenweck medal therefore ranks as the World's Fair souvenir medal par excellence."



    This amazing and apparently unique gold medal has fully mirrored fields with sharply detailed devices on both sides, and with scalloped borders and a finely reeded edge, apparently hand-finished by a jeweler or goldsmith. The hand-finishing of this piece suggests that it was made for an important purpose, such as presentation to the sitting President of the United States (Grover Cleveland) as NGC indicates. This is an extraordinary example that is destined to be a centerpiece in a collection of Columbian Exposition medallic art.
    Ex: Bowers and Merena (11/2002), lot 5762.
    From The Alan V. Weinberg Collection, Part II.


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Alan V. Weinberg Collection, Part II ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2019
    14th-18th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 25
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