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Historical Commentary
Related Inaugural items - More pics
Medals Often Mis-represented as Official
Issue Specific Bibliography
See a process set of this medal plus many official inaugural medals


Quick Facts

1981 Ronald Reagan
Official Inaugural Medal

Edward J. Fraughton

Medallic Art Company

Varieties Struck






OIM 21G70

RR 1981-1

14k Gold



OIM 21G32

JRR 1981-2

14k Gold



OIM 21G17

RR 1981-3

14k Gold



OIM 21S70 p

RR 1981-4




OIM 21S63

RR 1981-5




OIM 21S38

RR 1981-6




OIM 21B70

RR 1981-7




OIM 21C38

RR 1981-8




  * Dusterberg, Richard B.; The Official Inaugural Medals of the Presidents of the United States ; Cincinnati, Ohio; Medallion Press; 1971

** MacNeil, Neil; The President's Medal 1789 - 1977; New York, New York; Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. /Publisher in association with the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian; 1977

** Levine, H. Joseph; Collectors Guide * Presidential Inaugural Medals and Memorabilia; Danbury, Connecticut; Johnson & Jensen; 1981

** Note: Dusterberg's book published in 1971 ended with the 1969 Nixon Inaugural Medal, MacNeil's book with the 1977 Jimmy Carter medal, and Levine's book with this issue. In his book Levine choose to merge the two numbering systems on the Reagan medal, however here we will continue the traditional Dusterberg and MacNeil numbers.

Artist & Medalist Bios

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Ronald Reagan
Fortieth President of the United States

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Related Inaugural Items

Ronald Reagan
Fortieth President of the United States

Official Medal
Pure Copper

38mm (1.5 inch)
Mintage: 33,130

In the Original
3.5 inch by 3.5 inch
Cardboard Holder

38mm (1.5 inch) Pure Copper medal in original packaging

Bronze Process Set

Number 20 of 125*
Eight 70mm (2.75 inch) Uni-face Medals
Mounted on a
10 inch by 15 inch Walnut Plaque
Sets Produced: 23

See the complete process set of this medal plus many other official inaugural medals

Bronze Process Set

* Although the plaque on this set reads "Process Set #20 of 125" there were only 23 sets actually produced as H. Joseph Levine explained in his Presidential Coin & Antique Company auction catalog The Charles McSorley Collection of Nineteenth Century Political Campaign Tokens - Part II (July 10 & 11, 1998):

"This was the first time that process sets were offered for sale to the general public. However, the set was marketed almost as an afterthought. It was not advertised widely and thus only 23 of the process sets were actually numbered and sold. These sets were numbered 16 through 38."

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Ronald Reagan
Fortieth President of the United States

There are many individual medals and presidential medal series, which are quite well done and very collectable in their own right, that are often mistaken for or misattributed as "official" inaugural medals. This phenomenon can be seen readily in the descriptions of many of these medals when they appear in online auctions. The official medal, illustrated above, should match the auction item exactly before warranting a bid at official medal prices. Great, now we know the lot is misattributed but what is it? This section will illustrate some of these medals to help new collectors distinguish between the "official" and "unofficial" and to introduce all collectors to these interesting medals. Hopefully, some will be spared the expensive lessons I have seen so many unaware collectors make in online auctions and others will be inspired to expand their collecting interests to include these medals.

United States Mint Presidential Series
Stock Medal # 142
3 inch (76mm) "High-Relief" Bronze

Designer (Obverse/Reverse):
Elizabeth Jones

Other Sizes Struck:
Stock Medal # 742
1-5/16 inch "coin-relief" bronze

Interesting Notes:

Pretender Identification Tip:

U.S. Mint Stock Medal # 142

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Issue Specific Bibliography

1981 Ronald Reagan Inaugural

  •  --------- ; Reagan Inaugural Medal; The Numismatist, American Numismatic Association, Colorado Springs, CO; Volume 94 Number 2, 1981, February, page 345; illus.
  • Reiter, Ed; Shaping a Historic Medal - The Story Behind the Most Lasting Memorial of the 1981 Inaugural ; COINage, Behn-Miller Publications Inc., Encino, California; Volume 17 Number 3, 1981, March, page 92; illus.

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ã Copyright David W. Boitnott 2008