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New Presidential Silver Medals Series Released

August 20, 2018 0 Comments

Coin collectors often collect more than coins, and Mints make more than money. Various commemorative medals have long been created by the US Mint, and these allow collectors to build series, which when completed have more value as a set than the sum of their individual values. They can also provide a way of building collections of precious metals over time. The US Mint has just released the first two coins in a new series of silver medals of US Presidents, and this offers collectors a new opportunity to build sets with historical interest.

Giving medals is something usually associated with war, but in America there is also a long-standing tradition of giving medals to mark peace. This tradition began in the early years after Independence, when medals were given to the chiefs and leaders of Native American tribes by the government when peace treaties were agreed, as well as to mark other special events. This practice began with George Washington, and later presidents continued the tradition. On their expedition Lewis and Clarke carried medals of then-president Thomas Jefferson, as well as medals of Washington. By the end of the 19th century, with the country largely settled, the practice declined, and Benjamin Harrison was the last president to appear on a peace medal. After that the medals became known as Presidential Medals.

Originally made by Mint employees on a contracted-out basis, using the Mint’s equipment at night, but under President Rutherford B. Hayes the Mint began to make these medals directly. The tradition continued, and the medals gradually became collectibles, with the Mint creating a series in bronze of all past presidents. Those who served more than one term have a medal for each term. The current bronze series finished in 2017, and in August 2018 the first two medals of a new series in silver were released. There will be four medals in the series released each year, and as these are always in chronological order, the first two feature the first two presidents – Washington and Adams.

These new medals are made of 99.9% pure silver, weighing 1 troy ounce (31.103 grams) with a diameter of 1.598 inches (40.60 mm). This is the same planchet (blank disc) used to create the popular American Silver Eagle coins, but where those coins have a reeded edge, the Presidential Medals have a smooth edge. As well, since they will be minted at multiple mint facilities, they will not carry a mint mark.

The design and artwork are unchanged from the bronze series, with the reverse showing the words, PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP, and two clasped hands, one the bare arm of a Native American, and the other a cuffed wrist, with three stripes and buttons. On each button is the American eagle. Above the hands is a crossed peace pipe and tomahawk. All the medals will have this same reverse.

The obverse will show each president. The newly-released Washington coin shows his bust in profile, with the words, GEORGE WASHINGTON PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES 1789 around the image. The Adams medal has the words, JOHN ADAMS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES A.D. 1797 around the image. Each medal comes in a presentation box.

This new series is sure to be welcomed by collectors, who can now begin to build a new series in a precious metal, and a historic memento of all the presidents of the USA.

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