The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser
1923 Medal/MAco 1923-016

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Coin Details

Origin/Country: UNITED STATES
Design Description: MEDALLIC ART CO. MEDALS
Item Description: 76mm 1923-DATED BRONZE HORSE ASS'N OF AMERICA MEDALLIC ART CO. N.Y. ""CUTIE, 1929""
Full Grade: NGC MS 63
Owner: gherrmann44

Set Details

Custom Sets: The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser
Competitive Sets: This coin is not competing in any sets.
Research: NGC Coin Explorer NGC Coin Price Guide

Owner Comments:

The 1923 Horse Association of America Polo Pony Medal was commissioned by William Averell Harriman and designed by Laura Gardin Fraser. It was awarded annually to the best playing polo pony in each member club of the Horse Association of America from 1923-1929. This particular medal was awarded to “Cutie” owned by the US government for the 6th Calvary Polo Association. [1] [2]

When a sculptor models a theme for their final medallic design they will often start by sketching their ideas on paper or copy their subject from a photograph. They might also use a live model as Laura Gardin Fraser did for the “1929 National Sculpture Society Special Medal of Honor.” Incidentally, in designing the National Sculpture Society medallion Mrs. Fraser utilized both the aforementioned techniques to create her finished work. [3]

For the 1923 Horse Association of America Polo Pony medal Laura Gardin Fraser seems to have employed yet another design method. In designing the Horse Association of America Polo Pony medal Mrs. Fraser studied the interaction between a polo player and their mount in action. To do so she mounted her horse, borrowed a polo mallet, and hit a polo ball around on an open field at the Fraser’s summer home in Westport, Connecticut.

This did not go on unnoticed. Soon Laura Gardin Fraser’s friend Lila Howard joined in the fun and before long so did the men of the community. Locally organized polo matches followed and the Fairfield County Hunt Club was established in 1923. So it might be said that Mrs. Fraser founded the Fairfield County Hunt Club as an unintended benefit of her research. Subsequently in 1926, the Fairfield County Hunt Club became a member club of the United States Polo Association. The Fairfield County Hunt Club is still in existence today. [4] [5]

The commissioning of the 1923 Horse Association of America Polo Pony Medal became a springboard for at least two other of Laura Gardin Fraser’s sculpted bronze polo ponies. The first bronze was commissioned by the US Polo Association and was awarded to persons who loaned their mounts for the 1928 Cup of the Americas series. The other was of Averell Harriman’s polo pony named, “Miss Buck.” Another of Mrs. Fraser’s works entitled, “Long, Long Trail” is a bronze bas-relief of polo player Theodore Roosevelt. [6]

1 “Polo In the United States: A History” by Horace A. Laffaye, pg. 109
2 Dick Johnson’s Medal Artists Databank, http://www.medalartists.com/fraser-laura-gardin.html
3 http://www.medallic.com/about/medal_maker.ph
4 https://www.huntclubonline.org/club/scripts/library/view_document.asp?NS=PUBLIC&DN=HISTORY
5 “Polo In the United States: A History” by Horace A. Laffaye, pg. 109
6 “Polo In the United States: A History” by Horace A. Laffaye, pg. 303

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