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Rare and Popular 1839 Adam Eckfeldt Retirement Medal

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Rare and Popular 1839 Adam Eckfeldt Retirement Medal

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Details

1839 Adam Eckfeldt Chief Coiner, U.S. Mint retirement medal. Bronze, 52 mm. Julian MT-18. About Uncirculated. Obverse by Moritz Furst. A much-desired medal among collectors of early American coinage, depicting the first of generations of Eckfeldts who worked at the Philadelphia and San Francisco mints. While Adam is not the patriarch of the numismatically-involved Eckfeldts (that honor would go to his father, John Jacob Eckfeldt, who had a hand in creating the 1783 Nova Constellatio patterns), it was Adam who served at the Philadelphia Mint from its earliest days. Most importantly for modern collectors, Adam Eckfeldt was the founder of the Mint Cabinet, much of which is still preserved in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

This medal depicts a fine portrait of the aged Eckfeldt to right. The simple reverse identifies the reason for the medal's creation: "A farewell tribute of affectionate regard to Adam Eckfeldt from his fellow officers of the U.S. Mint, 1839." Eckfeldt received a gold specimen. A few silver examples were also struck, as was a somewhat larger number of bronze ones like this. Carlson found 18 sales records when he completed his survey in 1986. No record of mintage figures, or even for how long this piece was struck, exists; it is completely absent from the year-by-year (1855-1904) mintage roundup in the back of the Julian book. This could mean one of two things: they were all struck in 1839 (or at least before 1855), or they were mostly struck then and the few that were struck after 1855 were done off-the-books as special favors for friends of Mint staff. The few examples I've seen in bronze have mostly been unbronzed, consistent with pieces struck ca. 1839 rather than during the 1860s boom in medal collecting. (There are exceptions.) Ford owned no bronzes, though he did own two of the five or six known in silver. I'd estimate that the number known in bronze is somewhere south of 25, and it may be closer to 15. 

This example shows some handling, including some roughness on the rims that is visible as several tiny rim nicks when viewed from either side. The surfaces are light brown with some reflectivity remaining, showing some hairlines from a light ancient polishing but still very attractive. The reverse highlights golden toning under a light, while the obverse fields reflect rose and blue. A few little marks are seen. Though it may seem anti-intuitive, but this most numismatically interesting medal appears to have been distributed mostly among non-numismatists, i.e. members of the U.S. Mint staff, not collectors. The single silver specimen I've owned was quite abused. This one is less so, but it clearly did not go right from the dies into a succession of mahogany cabinets. It remains interesting and attractive all the same.

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade RAW
Designation N/A
Mint Location Philadelphia
Strike Type Business
Circulated/Uncirc Uncirculated
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 15002

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Description

Details

1839 Adam Eckfeldt Chief Coiner, U.S. Mint retirement medal. Bronze, 52 mm. Julian MT-18. About Uncirculated. Obverse by Moritz Furst. A much-desired medal among collectors of early American coinage, depicting the first of generations of Eckfeldts who worked at the Philadelphia and San Francisco mints. While Adam is not the patriarch of the numismatically-involved Eckfeldts (that honor would go to his father, John Jacob Eckfeldt, who had a hand in creating the 1783 Nova Constellatio patterns), it was Adam who served at the Philadelphia Mint from its earliest days. Most importantly for modern collectors, Adam Eckfeldt was the founder of the Mint Cabinet, much of which is still preserved in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

This medal depicts a fine portrait of the aged Eckfeldt to right. The simple reverse identifies the reason for the medal's creation: "A farewell tribute of affectionate regard to Adam Eckfeldt from his fellow officers of the U.S. Mint, 1839." Eckfeldt received a gold specimen. A few silver examples were also struck, as was a somewhat larger number of bronze ones like this. Carlson found 18 sales records when he completed his survey in 1986. No record of mintage figures, or even for how long this piece was struck, exists; it is completely absent from the year-by-year (1855-1904) mintage roundup in the back of the Julian book. This could mean one of two things: they were all struck in 1839 (or at least before 1855), or they were mostly struck then and the few that were struck after 1855 were done off-the-books as special favors for friends of Mint staff. The few examples I've seen in bronze have mostly been unbronzed, consistent with pieces struck ca. 1839 rather than during the 1860s boom in medal collecting. (There are exceptions.) Ford owned no bronzes, though he did own two of the five or six known in silver. I'd estimate that the number known in bronze is somewhere south of 25, and it may be closer to 15. 

This example shows some handling, including some roughness on the rims that is visible as several tiny rim nicks when viewed from either side. The surfaces are light brown with some reflectivity remaining, showing some hairlines from a light ancient polishing but still very attractive. The reverse highlights golden toning under a light, while the obverse fields reflect rose and blue. A few little marks are seen. Though it may seem anti-intuitive, but this most numismatically interesting medal appears to have been distributed mostly among non-numismatists, i.e. members of the U.S. Mint staff, not collectors. The single silver specimen I've owned was quite abused. This one is less so, but it clearly did not go right from the dies into a succession of mahogany cabinets. It remains interesting and attractive all the same.

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade RAW
Designation N/A
Mint Location Philadelphia
Strike Type Business
Circulated/Uncirc Uncirculated
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 15002

Related Blog Article(s)

Listed below are blog articles related to this product listing, if applicable:

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