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Liberty Head Medal Collection From the 1892-1893 World's Columbian Exposition

Category:  Token & Medals
Owner:  jaceravone
Last Modified:  11/23/2021
Set Description
This is my Liberty Head Medal Collection dated 1892-1893. Since its production, the medal has been referred to by many names. A detailed account of the medal can be found published in the July 1893 issue of the American Journal of Numismatics and referred to as the Landing Medal but it appears that over time the Liberty Head Medal name has stuck.

The medal was designed by Adolph Weyl and engraved by Wilhelm Mayer, whose initials you can see at the bottom neckline of Liberty. It was struck in Stuttgart, Germany by the German firm Wilhelm Mayer Metallwaren Fabrik a die sinking business which began in 1860 by Wilhelm Mayer and in later conjunction with his brother in-law, Frantz Wilhelm. In 1896 Wilhelm's name was dropped from the business and it was changed to the Stuttgarten Metallwaren Fabrik. During my research on the medal, I found several conflicting reports as to who actually engraved and/or designed the medal. As noted in the July 1893 American Journal of Numismatics article, the medal was attributed to Adolph Weyl, but other publications around that era fail to list Weyl at all and give total credit to Wilhelm Mayer. More research will continue to be conducted by me.

It is widely believed that the medals were produced for the 1892-1893 Worlds Columbian Exposition in celebration of the 400th year anniversary of the discovery of America but subsequent articles in the October 1993 and August 1994 Tokens and Medals Society (TAMS) Journal suggest that the medals had "no direct connection to or official status with the Columbian Exposition, although doubtless some were available for purchase there." Also noted in the October 1993 issue that the medals were first introduced at the Italo-American Exposition in Genoa, Italy [in 1892]. It is also in this article that it lists Adolph Weyl as the engraver and refers to the medal as, The Landing of Columbus Medal. In the August 1994 article, it states that the medal was a souvenir issue of the France based Weyl Numismatic Firm.

The July 1893, AJN article has the obverse and reverse switched, but it is generally accepted that the obverse is the side with Liberty Head and the reverse is the Landing of Columbus. This is the description as copied from the AJN article with the obverse and reverse corrected.

Obverse. The head of Liberty, in profile, with a somewhat stern expression: she wears the Phrygian cap and a coronal, inscribed LIBERTY with a wreath of wheat above and a cluster of daisies (?) over the ear; flowing locks fall on her neck; a circle of five-pointed stars surrounds the device, separated by a circle of dots from the field with 1892 at the bottom, in the circle.

Reverse. The Landing of Columbus; the navigator in armor stands facing, his sword in his hand, point downward, and a banner in his left; a group of his companions behind him, with a flag, crozier, etc., the design following the well known picture of his landing used on the two-cent Columbian stamps. Legend, separated by a circle of dots, DEDICATED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN HONOR OF THE 400TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA and below, completing the circle, *UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL* In exergue, -1492-

The medals were produced in 4 different sizes: 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 90mm. There have been claims as to additional sizes produced but none have been seen by me in my nearly 10 years collecting these. It is in my professional opinion that the rumors of different sizes persist because of errors printed in publications. For example, only three sizes are listed in the July 1893 AJN article and they reference 36mm instead of the generally accepted 35mm. The most likely reason for this confusion is that the medal can often be found listed in its exact size which is 35.9mm, and depending on the article, may round up or down. The same goes for all the other sized medals. In a 2012 auction listing, Heritage states "that in addition to the previous mentioned sizes, there were also 23mm and 120mm medals produced", something that I have not been able to confirm. I have seen two smaller sized medals using a similar obverse but paired with different reverses. Sometimes the Eglit-113 medal gets lumped into this group and may be the 23mm version that Heritage alludes to, one that I own but did not add to this collection.

It was produced in 5 different metal types: Aluminum, Gilt Bronze, Bronze, White Metal and Silver. But once again, we find discrepancies in published literature. The AJN article mentions in addition to the metal types above, a copper one being produced. I have never seen a copper example nor have I ever heard of one from other sources, but it would be no surprise that the Bronze examples may have been called Copper. I have seen a few graded Copper examples and all were graded by PCGS. These include a 35mm, 50mm and a 90mm Silver Plated Copper example. The 90mm Silver-plated example was previously rejected by NGC as not being part of the original production line and most likely an aftermarket product. Without proper metalurgic testing, it is unknown whether or not copper examples exist. Silver is the most rare and and is rarely seen. In a 2008 auction by Heritage, a 90mm silver example is noted as being the only one ever seen by this firm. My recent acquisition of a 90mm Silver medal makes this the second known piece that I have ever personally seen and the only one ever certified and graded. The piece was sent into NGC and was confirmed to be solid silver through metalurgic testing. I have heard of silver examples in the other sizes but none have been seen by me. These could be Silver-Plated Copper examples such as the PCGS example mentioned earlier. One would think that silver examples were produced but as to whether any survive is unknown.

Although it was produced in high relief in all sizes, low relief medals were produced for the 35mm size and only in Aluminum and Bronze. Recently, there was an added listing to the So-Called Dollars Web Site (www.so-calleddollars.com) that lists a 35mm Low Relief Gilt medal and is listed as HK221A.

I have also seen several silver-plated medals, a few in 35mm and one in 90mm. NGC would not grade any of these as they were sent back to the owners un-graded. At this time, there is insufficient proof to confirm that these were part of the original production line for these medals and may have been produced as an after-market product.

It should also be noted that these medals are reported to be produced both in business strike and Proof conditions. I believe this to be incorrect. I believe that all were produced to be business strikes with the earlier strikes having Proof-like characteristics. This would be similar to the Morgan dollar series where you have DMPL and PL coins. All are still business strikes but with varying degrees of frosting and reflectivity. Until proven otherwise, I stand by this assumption.

For cataloging purposes, there are two types of numbering systems used to identify these medals.
First is the Eglit numbering system found in Nathan Eglit's 1965 publication, "Columbiana, The Medallic History of Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Exposition of 1893". Unfortunately, two Eglit numbers were assigned to these medals and they are often inter-changed with one another. According to the web site, 1893columbianexpo.com, Eglit 51 is used to refer to the 50mm examples and Eglit 51A is used to refer to the 35mm Low relief examples. Eglit 101 is typically used to refer to everything else.

The second is the Hibler/Kappen So-Called Dollars reference book. This book was original published in 1963 and is currently the authoritative guide to medals that fall within "near dollar size". The 35mm size medals meet this criteria and are often attributed with HK numbers instead of Eglit numbers. Although, it is very common now-a-days for people to use the HK numbers when describing the various medals but their sizes are typically found in the description.

Unlike the medals in this collection, the 23mm sized token (E-113) is dated 1893 and was most likely also produced by Wilhelm Mayer. I would love to verify this fact.

All photos taken by Todd Pollock - www.bluccphotos.com

Set Goals
I am in search of a gradable HK 221A (Gilt - Low relief).

Slot Name
Origin/Country
Item Description
Full Grade
Owner Comments
Pics
View Coin   United States 28mm 1893 E-51A LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 65 BN TOP POP - 2/0 FINER (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 28mm 1892 E-51 GILT LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 65 DPL TOP POP 1/0 Finer - This was a very tough one to find. I had only seen one other on ebay and it was raw. It would most likely have graded AU. The gentleman who sold this to me found this along with a 35mm example in a sack full of wooden tokens that he bought at a flea market. Apparently neither party were aware of the treasure at the bottom of the sack until he got home and emptied it out. (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 28mm 1892 E-101, AL LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC PF 66 ULTRA CAMEO NO POP REPORTS ON THIS MEDAL FROM NGC IN PROOF BUT I HAVE SEEN ONE GRADED HIGHER AT 67UC. (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 28mm 1892 IL E-101 WM LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MEDAL MS 62 NO POP REPORTS ARE LISTED FOR THIS MEDAL. THIS MEDAL WAS PURCHASED OFF OF EBAY AS IT WAS LISTED BY THE SELLER AS ALUMINUM. UNBEKNOWNST TO THEM, THE LABEL HAD IT AS WHITE MEDAL. I HAVE NEVER SEEN ONE SINCE EITHER RAW OR GRADED. THIS IS A VERY GOOD CANDIDATE FOR A PL DESIGNATION. (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States SC$1 1892 IL HK-220 LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 67 BN TOP POP - 3/0 FINER. THERE ARE SEVERAL THAT HAVE BEEN GRADED WITH A PL DESIGNATION WITH ONE GRADING 67. (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States SC$1 1892 IL HK-220A LIBERTY HEAD LOW RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 61 BN TOP POP! 1/0 Finer
View Coin   United States Gilt SC$1 1892 IL HK-221 LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 67 DPL TOP POP - 1/0 FINER (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States SC$1 1892 IL HK-222 LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 67 DPL POP - 14/2 FINER IN PF68UC.
View Coin   United States SC$1 1892 IL HK-222A LIBERTY HEAD LOW RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 67 DPL TOP POP - 9/0 FINER (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States SC$1 1892 IL HK-222B,WM LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO JEFF SHEVLIN COLLECTION NGC MS 62 POP 1/1 FINER IN MS63 (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 50mm 1892 E-51, AE LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 66 BN TOP POP - 2/0 FINER (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 50.5mm 1892 E-51, GILT LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 67 PL TOP POP - 2/0 FINER - There have been two graded with a DPL designation, both graded 63 but this coin is a very good candidate for reconsideration for a DPL designation. (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 50mm 1892 IL E-101 AL LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF NGC MEDAL PF 67 ULTRA CAMEO TOP POP - 2/1 FINER in 68 (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 50.5mm 1892 E-51, WM LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 61 DPL TOP POP - 1/0 FINER. THESE ARE ONE OF THOSE MEDALS THAT I HAVE NEVER SEEN OTHER THAN THIS ONE. PURCHASED RAW FROM JEFF SHEVLIN, IT WAS DEFINITELY A STUNNING FIND. PROBABLY MORE OUT THERE BUT JUST HAVEN'T POPPED UP YET. (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 90mm 1892 E-101, AE LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 68 BN TOP POP - 1/0 FINER (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 90mm 1892 E-101 GILT LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 65 POP 1/1 FINER. There is one with the PL designation in 65. It sold in a 2017 Heritage Auction for an astounding $6000! Highest known price for this design in any size. (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 90mm 1892 E-101, AL LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 65 PL TOP POP - 2/1 Finer (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 90mm 1892 E-101, WM LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 62 TOP POP 2/0 - I have seen a couple of these medals in this metal graded higher but none seem to be documented. (8/30/2021)
View Coin   United States 90mm 1892 E-101, AR LIBERTY HEAD HIGH RELIEF WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPO NGC MS 62 ONLY ONE GRADED BY NGC AND ONLY THE SECOND ONE THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN. THE STAR OF MY COLLECTION. THROUGHOUT ALL MY YEARS COLLECTING THIS MEDAL I AM ALWAYS HEARING THE RUMORS OF A SILVER VERSION, BUT NONE HAVE BEEN SEEN BY ME OTHER THAN THE 90MM VERSION. THIS WAS PURCHASED OFF EBAY FROM A SELLER IN SOUTH AMERICA. (8/30/2021)

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