History of the Official Inaugural Medal The Tour of the President's medals starts here!
Scope and mission of this site Tour of the Vice-President's medals
A Guide to Navigation See process sets of many official inaugural medals
Biographys of the artists and medalists News related to Inaugural medals
Selected Bibliography

 

History
of the
Official Inaugural Medal

by
H. Joseph Levine

The inauguration of the American President has, from the beginning, been an occasion of both solemnity and celebration. The formal ceremony traditionally consists of the oath-taking, administered by the Chief Justice of the United States before the assembled Congress, followed by a speech by the new President. This speech is usually inspirational, filled with promises of grand new things to come and exhortations to the citizenry for its support and cooperation. The celebratory period that immediately follows has traditionally included balls, fireworks and an impressive parade.

From a historical perspective, the inaugural event is one of great significance. It is thus not surprising that Americans have always sought to acquire souvenirs of the occasion. Throughout the years, a wide variety of momentoes have commemorated the inaugural. However, since the second inauguration of William McKinley in 1901, one item seems to have had the most significant and recurring appeal - the Official Inaugural Medal.

Non-collectors of inaugural medals are often at a loss to explain their wide popularity. Certainly there are other American medals that are more aesthetically appealing; just as historically significant, and surely rarer than those in the inaugural series. Why, then, has the Official Inaugural Medal captured the fancy of so many collectors?

In my opinion, the foremost reason for its broad appeal is the subject matter. Americans have always been fascinated by the Presidency and the person who holds that office. If the contemporary American still has any public heroes, surely Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and the two Roosevelts are among them. For many, the President is the embodiment of the nation, much as the monarch is in other countries. The President symbolizes our collective hopes and aspirations. When the President is successful, we lift our heads with pride; when the President is exposed as susceptible to the temptations of money, power or the flesh, we feel diminished, both personally and as a nation.

Concurrent with this fascination is our historic captivation with the celebration of the President's inauguration . Thousands of Americans participate directly in these festivities. Through the medium of television, people all over the country feel that they are "on the scene".

When one combines the almost universal appeal of the office, the person, and the event with the American penchant for souvenirs, it is not surprising that the Official Inaugural medal has captured the interest of so many. Its fanciers, unlike those of most American medals, do not come primarily from the numismatic fraternity. Rather, most are ordinary citizens for whom, in historian Neil MacNeil's words, "These medals mark the ritual, repeated every four years, through which this nation refreshes its commitment to free government."

FORERUNNERS

While the first Official Inaugural medal did not make its appearance until 1901, its antecedents go far back into history. The striking of a medal to commemorate a particular event, or person, was a custom started during the period of the Roman Empire. The practice later fell into disuse until the Renaissance, when Italian artists, under the leadership of Pisanello (Ca. 1395-1455) began executing beautiful medallions in a variety of medals. The art then spread to France and Germany and then to England.

In England, in 1603, a small 28mm medalet was struck to commemorate the coronation of King James I. The obverse bore a bust of the King and the reverse, his coat of arms. It was distributed at the coronation ceremony as a form of largesse. This was the first in an unbroken line of official English coronation medals. It is this series that is the closest ancestor of our own Presidential inaugural medal.

In some ways, it is surprising that some kind of an official medal was not issued for the first inauguration of George Washington. Well before this event, the American Congress had authorized a number of medals struck to honor various Revolutionary War generals for their victories over the British. Indeed, the first such medal was for General Washington himself, to honor his victory at Boston on March 7, 1776. Moreover, the young American republic quickly adopted the English practice of awarding silver Indian peace medals to the chiefs of friendly tribes, as tokens of peace and friendship. The earliest of these fine hand engraved medals dates to Washington's first administration.

That is not to say, however, that the first Washington inauguration did not have any momentoes at all. Among the most cherished of American political items is the Washington inauguration button. It is recorded that Washington wore a set of specially made metal buttons inscribed with an eagle on them for his inaugural ceremony. He was not the only one wearing such special buttons. The button manufacturers of New York and Connecticut seized this opportunity to sell to the public sets of buttons with various designs, all intended to commemorate the inauguration. A.A. Albert, the foremost authority on Washington buttons, listed 27 varieties which he believed dated from Washington's first inauguration, or from his first term. Some of these also have an eagle motif, while others are inscribed with Washington's initials, or such legends as, "Long Live the President" and March the Fourth Memorable Era."

In the century that followed, inaugural momentoes were made on a rather haphazard basis. What medals and tokens that were issued were usually published privately and done primarily with commercial motives. The inaugurations of Presidents Adams, Madison and Monroe were without any recorded medallic commemoratives. However, the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson was distinguished by the private issuance of a fine commemorative medal from the skilled hand of John Matthais Reich, a German engraver who emigrated to Philadelphia in 1800. In a newspaper advertisement dated February 17, 1802, this medal was offered to the public, "... to commemorate, at once, the Era of American Independence, and the auspicious day, which raised Mr. Jefferson, to the dignity of President over a free people." Although not "official", this was the first Presidential inaugural medal.

The inauguration of John Quincy Adams was commemorated by another fine medal, this one from the hands of Moritz Furst, the medalist who executed many of the U.S. Mint's early medals. Struck in late 1826, a number of these medals were sold directly to President Adams, while at least 100 were sent to the War Department for an unknown use.

The inaugurations of Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor are represented by a curious series of four similar medals, all struck by the U.S. Mint. All used for the obverse, the medium size Indian peace medal die for the respective President. The reverses bore a wreath enclosing the date of each respective inauguration. These four medals, all struck by order of the Chief Coiner, Adam Eckfeldt, are extremely rare and their use has never been known. Perhaps they were ordered by Eckfeldt to be given as personal medals to the President and other VIPs. The absence of such a medal from William Henry Harrison, whose short-lived presidency fell between those of Van Buren and Tyler lends credence to this theory.

Subsequent inaugurations through that of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877 are represented by a variety of private medallic commemoratives struck in different sizes and metals. While historically important, most are, artistically undistinguished.

The Garfield inauguration of 1881 is important in that it was the occasion for the issuance of the first official souvenir; a colorful silk ribbon on which was gilt stamped a handsome eagle seal, an inaugural inscription and the name of the committee on which the wearer served. Past committees had used plain colored ribbons as a means of identification, but this was the first time that the ribbon was also suitable as a souvenir of the occasion. A similar ribbon badge was used for the 1885 Cleveland inauguration.

The inauguration of Benjamin Harrison in 1889 had added significance because it was also the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington. For this special occasion, the committee not only ordered a ribbon badge identifying the wearer's committee assignment, but it also attached a medal to that badge. The obverse of the medal portrayed the busts of President Harrison and Vice President Morton and the date 1889, while the reverse bore a bust of Washington and the date, 1789. This was the first inaugural medal issued with the official sanction of the Official Inaugural Committee. In both 1893 and 1897, even more elaborate and high quality committee badges with suspended medals were authorized. The medals, in fact, were so large and heavy that their suspension ribbons are seldom found intact.

THE OFFICIAL INAUGURAL MEDALS

In 1901, for the first time, The Inaugural Committee appointed a Committee on Medals and Badges to replace the old Committee on Badges. This new committee decided that they would separate the identification ribbons from the medal and issue them individually; each being intended as a souvenir for committee members. The Inaugural Committee designated the medal as the "official medal" of the inauguration. This was the first Official Inaugural Medal! An example was struck in gold and presented to President McKinley. Thus began the tradition, followed ever since, of presenting the new President with his own gold inaugural medal.

The designation of the chosen medal as "official" was a significant act in the history of the inaugural medal. It set this medal apart from all others and conferred upon it a new-found status which made it one of the most desirable momentoes of the occasion. Moreover, it created an atmosphere where talented sculptors and the most capable of our mints wished to compete for the honor of being associated with the official medal.

The interplay of these factors is evident when considering the two inaugural medals for Theodore Roosevelt in 1905. The inaugural committee chose to let a contract for 3,000 medals to the Philadelphia firm of Joseph Davison Sons. The medal produced by this firm was little more than a direct copy of a pre-existing medal - the Presidential Series medal issued by the U.S. Mint in 1901 when Roosevelt succeeded to the Presidency upon the death of William McKinley. President Roosevelt was displeased. He asked Augustus Saint Gaudens, the great American sculptor, to prepare another medal. This medal, designed by Saint Gaudens and executed by Adolph A. Weinman, was cast by Tiffany & Company and was proclaimed an artistic triumph. One hundred twenty five were cast and distributed to President Roosevelt, members of the Inaugural Executive Committee and others. Gold medals were presented to President Roosevelt and Vice President Fairbanks.

The medals for William Howard Taft in 1909 and Woodrow Wilson in 1913, while not executed by world-class artists, were of commendable merit and 3,000 each were distributed to members of the various committees. In 1917, because of financial difficulties, the committee was unable to finance the usual 3,000 medals. They authorized only three gold presentation medals. The manufacturing company, on its own, made several hundred bronze copies and distributed them to a favored few. Similar constraints prevented mass distribution of bronze medals for the Harding and Coolidge inaugurations, although gold medals were struck for each President and a very limited number of bronze specimens went to select individuals.

The financial problems preventing wide distribution of the official medal were solved in 1929 when the decision was made to sell the medals to the public instead of giving them away to committee members. The announced mintage of 1,000 medals was oversubscribed and the committee actually made a small profit on their sale.

Franklin D. Roosevelt's four inaugurations gave birth to a series of fine official medals by world-class sculptors. The best of these was an extremely high relief portrait medal executed by the distinguished sculptor, Paul Manship. The imposing obverse required twelve strikes from the great hydraulic presses at the United States Mint. The mintage figure for these four medals ranged from around 1,000 to 3,500 bronze medals as they were sold only in Washington, D.C., and little effort was made to reach a national market. This practice changed in 1949 with the decision to issue the medal as a major vehicle to help finance the entire inaugural celebration. A national marketing effort was launched resulting in the sale of 7,500 bronze copies of Paul Jennewein's fine Truman medal which was struck at the U.S. Mint.

From 1929 through 1945, the official medal was struck by the U.S. Mint. This changed in 1953 when the Medallic Art Company was chosen to strike Walker Hancock's portrait of President Eisenhower. The official medals have been struck by private mints ever since. 1953 also saw a silver medal offered for sale for the first time, beginning a tradition which has continued to this day. In 1961, Paul Manship was again requested to execute the official medal and his youthful bust of President Kennedy proved so popular that the medal sold over 53,000 copies in bronze and 7,500 in silver. Lyndon Johnson's medal in 1965 was executed by sculptor Felix de Weldon, best known for his statue depicting the flag raising at Iwo Jima. Sales, however, were less than half that of the Kennedy medal, reflecting the more somber time in which LBJ was inaugurated.

Sales of the official medal reached its zenith during the two Nixon inaugurations. The 1969 medal by master portrait sculptor, Ralph J. Menconi, sold over 78,000 copies in bronze and 15,000 in silver. The 1973 medal by Gilroy Roberts, aided by the marketing expertise of the Franklin Mint, sold more than 106,000 copies in bronze and 20,000 in silver.

When Richard Nixon resigned the presidency in 1974 and Gerald Ford succeeded him, the new President authorized Senator Mark Hatfield to form a committee to commission an inaugural medal. The Senator from Oregon had served in a similar capacity in overseeing the striking of a Vice Presidential medal for Ford when he was appointed to that office in 1973 and was to do the same when Vice President Rockefeller was installed later in 1974. The medal, with Mico Kaufman's obverse and Frank Eliscu's reverse, was struck by the Medallic Art Company. It received a low key marketing effort which resulted in sales, far less than the Nixon medals. The Ford medal was notable in that, for the first time, it was available for sale to the public in a small size gold offering.

The 1977 medal of Jimmy Carter is generally considered to be one of the less distinguished inaugural medal efforts. However, aided by the marketing talents of the Franklin Mint, the medal proved to be a commercial success. The Carter medal also began a commercially motivated trend toward proliferation of sizes, metals and finishes. The Reagan medals in 1981 and 1985 continued this trend as did the 1989 George Bush medal which was available in two sizes in bronze, two in silver, one in gold and in a matched sets of five medals.

The 1993 medal for President William Jefferson Clinton, struck by the Hoffman & Hoffman Mint and Medallic Art Company's 1997 medal for Clinton reversed the trend toward a multiplicity of medals: they were available to the public in only three sizes - one each for bronze, silver and gold. The 1997 medals program was notable in that the marketing effort included the use of QVC, the television shopping network.

THE OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURAL MEDAL FOR GEORGE W. BUSH

The more things change, the more they remain the same. The first English coronation medal for King James I in 1603 bore a bust of the king on the obverse and his coat of arms on the reverse. The George W. Bush medal is in this same tradition.

The obverse of the medal bears a finely executed portrait of our new President while the reverse shows his seal of office with an appropriate inaugural legend.

The Official Medal is the work of the well-known sculptor, Charles L. Vickers. The Texas-born Vickers moved to the New York area where he undertook an extensive art education. He studied at the Art Students League, Frank Reily School of Art, Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts. In 1976, he relocated to Pennsylvania to join the staff of the Franklin Mint where he rose to the position of Senior Sculptor. In 1986, he resigned this position and opened his own studio.

In preparing for his portrait of Mr. Bush for the Official Medal, Mr. Vickers combed through over one thousand different images seeking to find just the right one. He hit paydirt when he discovered an Associated Press news photo of Mr. Bush at the Republican National Convention waving to the crowd. This image caught the "sincerity, honesty and integrity of the man" which Vickers saw in his face. Using this image as a reference point, the artist sculpted his medal. The result is an amazingly true portrait of Mr. Bush which clearly conveys those elements of character which Vickers meant to communicate. This medal will stand proudly with the other distinguished medals in the Official Inaugural Medal series.

The 2001 medal was struck by the Medalcraft Mint of Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was the first time that this firm was selected to strike the official medal. Their successful completion of the 2001 program was influential in their selection to also strike the 2005 official medal.

THE OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURAL MEDAL FOR GEORGE W. BUSH AND RICHARD B. CHENEY

Following a long tradition for second term medals, the obverse of the 2005 official medal bears the busts of both the President and the Vice President and the legend: SECOND INAUGURATION. JANUARY 20, 2005. The reverse portrays a displayed eagle atop an American flag surrounded by * PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH * VICE PRESIDENT RICHARD B. CHENEY.

The obverse is the work of sculptor Gladys Gunzer, who has the distinction of being the first woman chosen to sculpt the Official Inaugural Medal. The native North Carolinian studied fine arts at the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina. She began her career as a medallic sculptor at the Medallic Art Company. Her career at this venerable institution exposed her to some of the leading lights of the American medallic sculpture community. Robert Weinman, Mico Kaufman, Frank Eliscu and Marcel Jovine were early influences in her maturation and helped her to develop her own style. Eventually she became Senior Sculptor at the firm and manager of the art department. In 1990, she resigned to work as a free-lance medallic sculptor.

In preparing for her portraits of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, Ms. Gunzer sought out images which would convey a feeling of “looking forward,” both in a futuristic sense and in an anticipatory one – to finish what we have started. She combed newspapers, magazines and the internet until, she finally found several different likenesses which she drew from to create the finished portraits.

The actual striking of the medal turned out to be chaotic. The original design with Ms. Gunzer’s obverse was combined with a reverse featuring a displayed eagle perched on an American flag. About 7500 each of these medals in 2 3/4” and 1 1/2” sizes were struck by the Medalcraft Mint in anticipation of sale. These medals are now being referred to as “Type I Medals.”

Unknown to the Medals Committee and to the Medalcraft Mint, the official of the main inaugural committee who oversaw the approval of all officially licensed inaugural souvenirs, decided that his authority extended to the approval of the design of the official medal. (This was the first time in history that anyone other than members of the Medals Committee ever exerted any decision making authority with respect to the design of the official medal!) This gentleman professed to be dissatisfied with the selected design and initially demanded that both obverse and reverse designs be changed. This in spite of the fact that a total of 15,000 medals had already been struck.

After one false start in which a second obverse design (also by Gladys Gunzer) was approved and then quickly disapproved, the decision was made to strike a medal which bore the original obverse design and a new reverse displaying the Presidential Seal. These are now referred to as Type II medals.

To the experienced eye, it is obvious that this new reverse was not intended to be mated with the original obverse as the inaugural date, January 20, 2005, appears on both sides of the medal – a mistake the Medals Committee would never have made!

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Mission Statement

The mission of this site is to become the best source of information regarding official inaugural medals both online and off.

Although the mission can be simply stated it is quite complex. Just the task of assembling images, researching and writing commentary and histories is staggering. To be the best, the information presented must be first of all be accurate, well organized and easily accessed. The structure of the site will take care of the organization and accessibility but only time and research will take care of the accuracy. If one were to wait until all was ready and perfect the site would most likely never be launched. For that reason it will always be to some extent or another a work in progress. The start might be modest and the goal lofty but with the support of friends it will achieve its desired result. Through continuous improvement it will become the best!

What information should or should not be included. This is a difficult decision as for some there is never enough and yet for others the basics will do just fine. To cover the basics a "Quick Facts" section was developed for each medal giving such information as designers, engravers, die makers, diameters, metals, and mint responsible for that issue. But others hunger for more details. To satisfy this hunger there will be a "Commentary" section for each medal to tell the story of its issuance. Those interested in the individuals and companies responsible for the design and manufacture these medals will enjoy a page dedicated to providing biographical sketches of these participants. Those interested in the manufacturing process itself used in striking these medals will enjoy the section "Process Sets." But, some may still hunger for more information. To help these diehards a "Selected Bibliography" section will be provided so they can find and study the resource material used to develop this site.

Many special features are contemplated for the site. First a section called "Related Items" will go beyond the images of the bronze medals used to illustrate each medal. It is here were images of silver medals, maybe even an occasional gold medal, and interesting packaging options will be found. Next is a feature that both excites and scares me, it will be called "Pretenders." This section was inspired by e-mails received from my previous inaugural medal site concerning whether certain medals are considered "official" or not and by the number of medals seen in online auctions misrepresented as "official." It excites me because I feel it is really need in the hobby to guide the new collector away from what in some cases they perceived as a great bargain that eventually becomes only a very expensive lesson. It scares me because it will be a lot of work and it will force me to research many related presidential series I do not collect. Also, being a known addict of collecting this new knowledge might spark that desire to own one for the collection thus costing me more money. Although not a bad thing, this section could also evolve into an online resource of information on these medal series as well.

One thing that did not weigh heavily on the design of this site was the commercial aspect. Its purpose is to share information and the joy of the hobby. It would, however, be nice to pick up a sponsor or two who would be willing to offset some of the development and hosting costs related to the site in exchange for advertising banners at the bottom of the page. I might occasionally list a duplicate for sale but that is not my mission.

Your comments, contributions and questions are always welcome.

Regards,
David W. Boitnott

Coin & Medal Collectors Asylum
ANA Life Member #5009
NCNA Life Member #142

Click here to see the original e-exhibit that started it all!

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About the Site
A Guide to Navigation

This section was developed to give the visitor an insight into how this e-Exhibit is organized and to enhance their enjoyment of it. We heartily encourage our visitors to take in the entire e-Exhibit. However, there is (will be) a lot of information presented throughout the e-Exhibit so the knowledge of it's organization will aid those interested in zeroing in on a specific medal, designer or medalist.

Main Introduction Screen

This is the entry point of the e-Exhibit. The visitor will see the Seal of the President of the United States flanked on the right by five navigation buttons and on the left by five more. While on this screen clicking on the "Coin & Medal Collectors Asylum presents" banner will take you back to the main page of the Coin & Medal Collectors Asylum site.
 

This button takes the visitor to an excellent overview and history of the official inaugural medal as a collectable in American culture. Written by noted inaugural medal dealer and member of many recent inaugural medal committees, H. Joseph Levine, it gives the reader an understanding of the appeal of the official inaugural medal to the public and the collector. Written as part of the sales effort for the 2001 George W. Bush medal we wish to thank Mr. Levine for his permission to use it here.
 

This button takes the visitor to our mission statement. There we define our scope and intentions in developing this e-Exhibit.
 

This button brought you here and by now the purpose of this page should be becoming clear to the visitor.
 

This button takes the visitor to a page that lists the artists - designers, sculptors and engravers that created these interesting medals. Another section gives a history of the various medalists that prepared the dies and struck the medals.
 

This button takes the user to an as comprehensive as possible bibliography of books and articles published on Official Inaugural Medals. It is broken down into three sections - General Books, General Articles and Issue Specific Articles. It will be helpful to those looking for more information about the medals in general or any specific issue. Also, if you know of any reference we missed please let us know and we'll gladly add them.
 

This button sends the visitor to a slide show of the official inaugural medals starting with the 1901 William McKinley issue. More on navigating the slide show is detailed below in the Presidential Inaugural Medal Screen.
 

This button sends the visitor to a slide show of the official vice-presidential inaugural medals starting with an introduction page. More on navigating the slide show is detailed below in the Presidential Inaugural Medal Screen. There is also a section here on the Vice-Presidential Introduction Screen.
 

This button takes the visitor to an introduction to process or progress sets that illustrate the steps taken in manufacturing these medals. Links to e-Exhibits illustrating many of these sets is also found there.
 

This button takes the visitor to announcements, news effecting the hobby, and site updates.
 

This button takes the visitor to information on how to purchase the current George W. Bush medal, previous issues, and eBay search strings for various president's medals.
 

At the bottom of this interface is a pull-down menu that allows the visitor to choose and jump to a specific official inaugural medal.
 

Presidential Inaugural Medal Screen

This is the slide show display screen of the e-Exhibit. Each individual issue of the official presidential and vice-presidential medal in the series will utilize this screen. The visitor will see the obverse and reverse of the official medal in the right two-thirds of the screen flanked on the left by four or five navigation buttons. The right border has a triangle pointing right and is labeled NEXT. Clicking on this border will advance the visitor to the next slide in ascending order (earliest to latest). Conversely the left border has a triangle pointing left and is labeled PREV. Clicking on this border will advance the visitor to the next slide in descending order (latest to earliest). At either end the e-Exhibit will wrap around. While on this screen clicking on the "Coin & Medal Collectors Asylum presents" banner will take you back to the Main Introduction Screen of this e-Exhibit.
 

This button takes the visitor to basic information about the medal. It tells who designed it, who was the medalist that struck it, what sizes are available, what metals or alloys was it struck in, and what are the Dusterberg and MacNeil numbers.
 

This button takes the visitor to a historical commentary on the medal and administration of the president as it relates to the collectability of the issue.
 

This optional button takes the visitor to items related to the issuance of the official medal. It is here that the visitor will find pictures of different size medals, different alloy medals and various packaging that came with the medal.
 

This optional button will take the visitor to images and commentary on medals produced during the competition for the honor of being chosen the official inaugural medal that were eventually rejected. Some of these "patterns" of what might have been official inaugural medals were produced and sold as unofficial medals or souvenirs. To call them "pretenders" would not be accurate, as they truly were "contenders" for the honor of officialdom.
 

This button will perhaps be the most valuable of all to the collector new to official inaugural medals. We were inspired to add this section based on e-mails received asking about the official status of the US Mint stock medal series of the presidents and the proliferation of medals misrepresented as "official" on the numerous online auction sites. It is here that we will illustrate many of these "pretenders." In time it may become the online reference to some of these other series as well.
 

At this level this button takes the user to an issue specific bibliography of published books and articles. It will be helpful to those looking for more information about the issue. Also, if you know of any reference we missed please let us know and we'll gladly add them.
 

At this level this optional button takes the visitor to information on how to purchase items related to the specific issue. It most likely will only appear on the current president's medals while it is still available from the original distributors.
 

At the bottom of this interface is a pull-down menu that allows the visitor to choose and jump to a specific official presidential inaugural medal.
 

This button located at the bottom of each Presidential Inaugural Medal screen will take the visitor back to the Main Introduction screen of this e-Exhibit. There is another button labeled HOME in a little blue house below this one that will take the visitor all the way back to the Coin & Medal Collectors Asylum site.
 

Vice-Presidential Introduction Screen

This is a customize screen at the beginning of the slide show of the vice-presidential medals in this e-Exhibit. The visitor will see the vice-presidential seal in the right two-thirds of the screen flanked on the left by five navigation buttons. The right border has a triangle pointing right and is labeled NEXT. Clicking on this border will advance the visitor to the next slide in ascending order (earliest to latest). Conversely the left border has a triangle pointing left and is labeled PREV. Clicking on this border will advance the visitor to the next slide in descending order (latest to earliest). At either end the e-Exhibit will wrap around. While on this screen clicking on the "Coin & Medal Collectors Asylum presents" banner will take you back to the Main Introduction Screen of this e-Exhibit.
 

This button takes the visitor to an overview and history of the official vice-presidential inaugural medal. It discusses the history of the 25th amendment to the United States Constitution under which the honorees of these medals gained office. The text of the 25th amendment is also provided.
 

This button will take the visitor back to the Main Introduction screen of this e-Exhibit. There is another button labeled HOME in a little blue house located at the bottom of this page that will take the visitor all the way back to the Coin & Medal Collectors Asylum site.
 

This button sends the visitor to a slide show of the official presidential inaugural medals starting with the 1901 William McKinley issue. More on navigating the slide show is detailed above in the Presidential Inaugural Medal Screen.
 

This button takes the visitor to a page that lists the artists - designers, sculptors and engravers that created these interesting medals. Another section gives a history of the various medalists that prepared the dies and struck the medals.
 

At this level this button takes the user to an as comprehensive as possible bibliography of books and articles published on Official Inaugural Medals. It is broken down into three sections - General Books, General Articles and Issue Specific Articles. It will be helpful to those looking for more information about the medals in general or any specific issue. Also, if you know of any reference we missed please let us know and we'll gladly add them.
 

At the bottom of this interface is a pull-down menu that allows the visitor to choose and jump to a specific official vice-presidential inaugural medal.
 

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Inaugural Medal News

Posted March 14, 2013

Presidential Coin & Antique Company

The long anticipated Official Inaugural Medal for the Obama/Biden Inauguration is here! This handsome medal with the obverse executed by sculptor Peer Hansen will again be struck by the Medalcraft Mint, one of American's premier private mints.

The obverse bears Mr. Hansen's dual portraits of President Obama and Vice President Biden facing left. SECOND INAUGURATION is inscribed above and the date 2013 below. The reverse bears a detailed image of the U.S. Capitol with the legend above, 37th PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION. Inscribed to either side of the building is: PRESIDENT/ BARACK/ OBAMA at left, and VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH R./ BIDEN, JR. to the right.

The medal program consists of the following:

2 3/4" BRONZE HIGH RELIEF ART MEDAL. (70mm). The most traditional medal of the inaugural series is this high relief bronze art medal. It comes will a solid walnut stand and is housed in a deluxe twopiece Kraft presentation box. RETAIL PRICE… $50.00

2 3/4” .999 SILVER HIGH RELIEF ART MEDAL (70mm) Design as above and also packaged in a Kraft presentation box RETAIL PRICE (and at this price - certain to be a low mintage rarity!) … $1,250.00

THREE PIECE MATCHED SERIAL NUMBERED SET. The set consists of the 2 _” bronze and silver medals and a 1 _” 1 oz. 14k gold medal housed in a custom wooden presentation case... $7,500.00

STICKER SHOCK? Trust me, you are not alone! Although the protests against the prices for the silver medal and the matched set have been vociferous, we do not anticipate the Inaugural Committee lowering the prices. Their response has been along the lines of saying that they feel that the quality of the medals warrants the price.

For those of you who are not related to Croesus, we will try to work with you and set up a payment plan that suits your needs. Please call us at 571-321-2121.

Thank you!

H. Joseph Levine
Presidential Coin & Antique Company, Inc.
Post Office Box 277
Clifton, Virginia 22312
Phone 571-321-2121
FAX 571-321-0696
JLevine968@aol.com


Posted February 18, 2009

Presidential Coin & Antique Company

OFFICIAL OBAMA INAUGURAL MEDALS

After some weeks of hard bargaining, Presidential finally has been given permission by the Presidential inaugural Committee (PIC) to sell the Official Obama Inaugural medal in .999 silver and the three piece set (Bronze, Silver and 14k Gold .) The set is housed in a custom wooden box.

As you may know, we considered the prices on the silver medal and the gold set as "aggressive" and fought against having to charge our customers full retail price for these two items. We have been able to do this in a modest way - of course, the price cut has come out of our profit, not theirs! We accept all major credit cards. Your personal check is welcome. Our pricing is as follows:

1. 2.75" .999 Silver medal. (Weight approximately 6.5 oz.) PIC Price $400.00
Our Price: $335.00 + $10.00 P&I. (Deduct $10.00 if paid by check.)

2. Three Piece Set. (Gold medal weight approximately 1.00 oz.) PIC Price $3000.00
Our Price: $2600.00 + $25.00 P&I. (Deduct $100.00 if paid by check.)

We expect delivery of our initial order in 2-3 weeks and will ship immediately upon receipt. We have a window of two weeks in which to place our orders. Please place your order before then.

Thanks,

Joe Levine

H. Joseph Levine, Presidential Coin & Antique Company, Inc.
Post Office Box 277
Clifton, Virginia 20124
Phone 571-321-2121
FAX 571-321-0696
JLevine968@aol.com


Posted January 18, 2009

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!

After an enormous amount of effort, we have finally secured permission to sell the Official Obama Inaugural Medal in bronze.

DESCRIPTION:

OFFICIAL BARACK OBAMA INAUGURAL MEDAL, 2009. 70mm. Bronze. Marc Mellon, Sc. (Obv.) and Thomas D. Rogers, Sc. (Rev.) Struck by the Medalcraft Mint.

The obverse bears Mr. Mellon's imposing portrait of our newly elected President, Barrack Obama, his name inscribed above. The reverse bears the Official Inaugural Seal and an ornate cartouche below inscribed: 44TH PRESIDENT/ OF THE/ UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/ INAUGURATED JAN. 20, 2009. Below the seal is a split wreath which, according to Mr. Rogers, has the following symbolic meaning. “The laurel leaves symbolize victory; the oak leaves symbolize wisdom and strength; they are tied together below the scroll cartouche with a ribbon that symbolizes unity.” This is the first time that the inaugural seal has been featured on the official inaugural medal.

Silver Medal and Three Piece Sets

We were also offered the opportunity to sell the silver medal and the three piece set, but the asking price was so high that that we decided to wait and see if we can purchase some after the inaugural is over at more reasonable prices and pass the saving along to you. Should this occur, and you wish to have us inform you, please let us know.

The bronze medal is available from us at $60.00 each. Postage and insurance is $6.50 plus $1.00 for each additional medal. We accept PayPal and all major credit cards.

H. Joseph Levine, Presidential Coin & Antique Company, Inc.
Post Office Box 277
Clifton, Virginia 20124
Phone 571-321-2121
FAX 571-321-0696
JLevine968@aol.com


Posted January 10, 2009

For those of you who have not yet been informed, the Official Inaugural Committee has announced the availability of .999 Fine silver medals and a three piece set which includes 2.75” medals in bronze and silver and a 1.25” 14k gold medal.

These medals, along with bronze examples are available on the Committee's web site. http://pic2009.inauguralcollectibles.com/

The Bronze medal retails for $60.00
The silver medal retails for $400.00
The three piece set retails for $3,000.00

At these prices, we suspect that these medals will have very low mintages.

We are sorry that we are unable to aid you in ordering the 2009 medal. We do, however, have an inventory of older official inaugural medals which we will be glad to e-mail to you. Please send your request to JLevine968@aol.com

Many of these items are one-of-a kind, so we suggest that you phone or e-mail your order rather than mail us your check without first checking for availability. Many thanks

H. Joseph Levine, Presidential Coin & Antique Company, Inc.


Posted November 14, 2008

As of the date of this notice (November 14, 2009) the official Obama medal has not been selected. The various private mints which will be competing for the contract all have examples of their art ready for the selection process. First, however, the Inaugural Committee has to be formed and the new Chairman has to appoint someone to head the Medals Committee.

Presidential has been a national distributor for the Official Inaugural Medal since 1973. We expect to do so again this year. If you would like to be informed of the details of the Inaugural medal program when they are announced, please contact us with your e-mail and postal addresses and we will update you with information as it becomes available.

Presidential has in inventory a substantial stock of Official Inaugural Medals from prior years. Please let us know of your specific wants and we will quote you on items in stock.

H. Joseph Levine, Presidential Coin & Antique Company, Inc.

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