NGC Registry Updated NGC Registry

Collection Manager >

1941-Dated Remember Pearl Harbor Medals

Category:  Token & Medals
Owner:  THN
Last Modified:  2/26/2016
Set Description

This NGC®Registry set honors the men and women of The Greatest Generation who fought and/or supported the United States war efforts of World War II.

The December 7, 1941 military attack at US naval base Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan was a tragedy that formed the legacy of American heroism. This surprise attack unified America to fight back and harden its will for absolute victory. The battle cry "Remember Pearl Harbor" has been indelibly impressed in American's history.

The 1941 dated "Remember Pearl Harbor" medals is the first US numismatic item to respond to the tragic events at Pearl Harbor. These medals were designed and struck while the United States was at war with the Empire of Japan.

The following video serves as a historical reminder and aids in the better understanding with the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack.


The following information is the result of my original research and is provided to advance the knowledge within the numismatic community. Please feel free use this information. All I ask is that you reference this URL as the information source and state that DrDarryl as author of this information.

FIRST US NUMISMATIC ITEM TO DEPICT THE ATTACK AT PEARL HARBOR

The 1941-dated “Remember Pearl Harbor” medals provide a somber reminder of the attack on Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in the United States Territory of Hawaii. These medals are original World War II period items. These medals were designed and struck while the United States was at war with the Empire of Japan. Proof of this fact is derived from a periodical ad that places its first nation-wide availability on February 14, 1942.

The medal was originally listed as a pocket coin or patriotic coin, but today is officially listed as a medal in the book Hawaiian Money Standard Catalog 2nd Edition, 1991, by Medcalf & Russell. These medals are also identified as a token or medallion.

There is World War II period documentation (ad in The Billboard magazine, February 14, 1942 issue (URL provided below)) that provides proof that these medals were initially made available 69 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. There is also World War II period documentation in the popularity with the medal design (article in The Billboard magazine, February 21, 1942 issue (URL provided below)).

Based on a survey of World War II collectible catalogs, the 1941-dated “Remember Pearl Harbor” medal can be identified as the first US numismatic item to depict the attack on Pearl Harbor.

It is documented that the medal was designed and struck by The Metal Arts Company Inc. of Rochester, New York. It is also documented by the manufacturer (The Metal Arts Company) that the medal's design was struck in bronze and sterling silver.

The medal measures 25 mm in diameter. Hawaiian Money Standard Catalog 2nd Edition, 1991, by Medcalf & Russell was the first to identify the "Pat. Pending" variety. The variety can be easily identified by locating the "Pat. Pending" text on the obverse, lower left, along the rim. Obviously, the "Pat. Pending" medals were first stuck and predates those without the text.

THE DESIGN ELEMENTS AND ITS MEANING

There is no documented reference that describes the design elements of these medals and this is my attempt to create it.

The Obverse: The obverse of the medal depicts an Imperial Japanese Navy torpedo bomber in an attack dive and releasing its armaments resulting in several explosions and causing a battleship to sway. The Imperial Japanese Navy’s rising sun markings is prominently displayed on the bomber’s fuselage (actual insignia would be a solid red colored roundel). Additional aircraft are in level flight in the Hawaiian sky and other dive bombers are in attack dives that results in several more explosions. In the backdrop are the mountain ranges of the island of Oahu.

The Reverse: On the reverse of the medal are the patriotic words “Remember Pearl Harbor” and the date “December 7, 1941”. The patriotic words are a reminder to be vigilant towards enemies of the US. The date is a mindful reminder of the day that the Empire of Japan attacked the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and for those who lost their lives in the surprise attack. Each of the 16 stars represents a US ship that was either sunk or damaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor. This 16-star significance was derived by reviewing Pearl Harbor attack documentation and connecting star symbolism to the number 16. The 16 star and 16 ship match was identified. To my knowledge, this is the first time that the 16 star symbolism has been documented.

INVESTIGATING MEDAL DETAILS

The book Hawaiian Money Standard Catalog 2nd Edition, 1991, by Medcalf & Russell, lists four variations of the medal (by medal composition and Pat. Pending text). I have discovered that this book and the 1942 periodical ad conflicts in the metal composition. Metal composition testing on the medal has not been carried out at this time. For now, I am citing with the 1942 periodical ad as the correct metal composition type (i.e. bronze (rather than copper)).

The Medcalf & Russell identifiers and mintage are:

    2M-379 (copper without Pat. Pending): 10,000 struck
    2M-380 (copper with Pat. Pending): mintage included above
    2M-381 (nickel): 5,000 struck
    2M-382 (sterling silver): unknown mintage

The nickel composition medal is not originally listed in the 1942 periodical ad and may have been left out to remove confusion with the ad's focus (bulk ordering of the bronze and availability of the sterling silver).

I have made a new discovery that the 2M-381 (nickel composition) was struck with and without the "Pat. Pending" text. This is based on actual physical evidence from specimens in this collection. From this discovery, a high probability exists that the 2M-382 was also struck with and without the "Pat. Pending" text.

My numismatic search continues to prove/disprove that 2M-382 without Pat. Pending is extant. Again, the medal without the "Pat. Pending" was struck later in time from those with the "Pat. Pending" text.

I have observed than most specimens are in the circulated grades. Uncirculated specimens are a rarity.

The patina and/or wear on the medal often make it difficult for the untrained collector to distinguish between the nickel and silver variety. To alleviate this difficult situation, the collector should look for a marker on the reverse (“Remember Pearl Harbor” side) of the medal.

The marker is the words running along the bottom rim of the medal. Using the bottom most Star as a reference (Star directly below the 9 and 4), if the words extend equally to the adjacent left Star and adjacent right Star, this is a nickel variety. When the words extend two Stars to the right and two stars to the left of the reference Star, this is a silver variety.

The words “Metal Arts Co. Roch. N.Y.” is on the Nickel and Bronze variety. The words “Metal Arts Co. Roch. N.Y. Sterling” is on the Silver variety.

I have observed bronze variations of this medal modified as a wearable pendant (loop soldered onto the medal's rim). Other wearable variations are holed with the Remember Pearl Harbor side as the focal point.

The Billboard magazine, February 14, 1942 issue, page 52 has been identified as the first public listing to offer the "Remember Pearl Harbor" pocket coins. The periodical ad is from the original manufacturer of the medals, The Metal Arts Company, Inc of Rochester, New York.

The pocket coin illustration in the periodical ad matches the obverse design, reverse design and size of the medal. The periodical ad states that the pocket coins were available in bronze and sterling silver. (Each reference book that state the medal was struck in copper is thereby questioned.) The original 1942 prices for the pockets coins are listed in the periodical ad. This periodical ad also indicates that the pocket coins had a pending US patent at the time. This is the first known periodical ad listing for the pocket coins (prior issues of The Billboard were checked with no similar ad was listed). The periodical ad dates the availability of the pocket coins at 69 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, however the coins were most likely struck and provided earlier. The date of the periodical ad is used as the first date of nation-wide availability in the US.

The Billboard, February 21, 1942 issue, page 53 has a periodical article titled "Patriotic Pocket Coins". The article discussed the popularity and design of the "Remember Pearl Harbor" pocket coins. The original periodical ad was not listed in this issue. Later issues were checked and the same ad listing was located.

SURVEY OF RELATED NUMISMATIC REFERENCES

For research completeness, below is my survey of numismatic reference books that list and describe the medal. Discrepancies have been noted with these numismatic references.

Hawaiian Money Standard Catalog, 1978, by Medcalf & Russell, lists two versions of the medal. The book incorrectly identifies one variation of the medal as copper (should be bronze), fails to list the sterling silver version and fails to mention the Patent Pending variations.

    MD-157 (copper): 10, 000 struck
    MD-158 (nickel): 5,000 struck

Hawaiian Money and Medals, 1967, by Medcalf and Fong, lists two versions of the medal. The book incorrectly identifies one variation of the medal as copper (should be bronze), fails to list the sterling silver version and fails to mention the Patent Pending variations.

    30A (copper): 10,000 struck
    30Aa (nickel): 5,000 struck

Hawaiian Coins, Tokens and Paper Money, 1961, by Gould & Bressett, lists two versions of the medal. The book fails to list the sterling silver variation, incorrectly identifies a variation as nickel-silver and fails to mention the Patent Pending variations.

    117 (bronze): 10,000 struck
    117a (nickel-silver): 5,000 struck

Set Goals

The goal of this set is to be the primary numismatic reference source for the "Remember Pearl Harbor" medals. These medals:

  • Lays claim as being the first US numismatic item to depict the attack on Pearl Harbor
  • Are unknown due to a lack of documentation
  • Hold a historical significance to the numismatic and Word War II memorabilia collector communities
  • Lacks a true numismatic reference source
PURPOSE OF THIS SET

The purpose of this set is tri-fold:

  1. Establish an online reference of the 1941-Dated "Remember Pearl Harbor" medals
  2. Showcase a specimen of each of the 1941-Dated "Remember Pearl Harbor" medals
  3. Assist in the identification of previously undocumented variations
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS SET

The significance of this set is that it lays a foundation from existing numismatic knowledge, solidifies the foundation by aligning the knowledge for completeness, and finally builds upon this numismatic knowledge by filling in the knowledge gaps with original findings from my research. What makes this set unique is that it is not simply regurgitating information, but expanding numismatic knowledge (a key point that differentiates this set from other NGC® Registry sets) for the whole numismatic community.

Slot Name
Origin/Country
Item Description
Full Grade
Owner Comments
Pics
View Coin 2M-379 United States World War II Bronze HAWAII 1941-DATED 2M-379 REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR NGC MS 64
View Coin 2M-380 United States World War II Bronze HAWAII 1941-DATED 2M-380 REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR 2M-380 NGC MS 63
View Coin 2M-381 New Discovery Variety A United States World War II Nickel HAWAII 1941-DATED 2M-381 REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR NGC VF 25 With Pat. Pending
Unknown (but assiged as 2M-381 New Discovery Variety B) United States World War II Nickel 2M-381 Without Pat. Pending. This coin is undergoing NGC grading and encapsulation
View Coin 2M-382 United States World War II Sterling Silver HAWAII 1941-DATED 2M-382 REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR NGC MS 62
1942 ad (69 days after Attack on Pearl Harbor) The attack on Pearl Harbor took place on December 7, 1941.

Left image: On February 14, 1942 (69 days after attack) the Remember Pearl Harbor pockets coins made their first national appearance.

Right image: On February 21, 1942 a positive review was made about the Remember Pearl Harbor pockets coins.

To follow or send a message to this user,
please log in