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Impressive 1853 American Institute Gold Medal

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Impressive 1853 American Institute Gold Medal

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Details

1853 American Institute, New York medal. Gold, 28 mm. Awarded to Ebenezer Barrow for a superior Rotary Engine. Choice About Uncirculated. 255.9 grains. A charming antebellum award medal, struck on a fine gold planchet approximately the weight of a $10 gold piece. Dies by Robert Lovett Sr., signed LOVETT in the obverse exergue. At the 1853 fair, 25 gold medals were awarded, in addition to 147 silver medals, for everything from mustard to muskat traps. Books and other prizes were also given out by the judges, and every entrant received a diploma. For those who entered the same product, handiwork, or technology more than once, receiving a medal meant they could only receive diplomas everafter. Despite the fact that an American Institute medal was a prized form of recognition by artisans and inventors, this medal was tantamount to a $10 cash prize in gold -- most were cashed in (any bank or merchant could have thrown this on a scale and paid out throughout the 19th century) rather than being preserved as heirlooms. Today, while silver pieces are relatively common (I have a couple in stock), gold pieces are rarities. Heritage has only sold one of these over the years, an 1850 specimen awarded "for the best anvils" that brought $1840 in 2011. Graded MS-61 by NGC, it looks similar in quality to this one. StacksBowers had an 1847-dated example, graded AU, in November 2013, awarded for a "steam register and vacuum gage" (sic) that brought $1997.50. This one brought $552 in 2001, when you could buy a pretty nice Libertas Americana medal for $1500 and gold was well under $300 an ounce.

The present example is nicely preserved but, typical for these non-numismatically distributed medals, shows some fine evidence of handling, including some minor hairlines. The fields are deeply reflective and the edges are intact. The high wire rim shows a few scuffs, and a pair of short scratches are seen on a diagonal below the recipient's last name. 

Barrows' engine was apparently designed to run steamboats, and he received a good amount of press for his creation at the time. It was patented in England in 1851 and in the US in 1854. Barrows died in Brooklyn in 1858. 

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade RAW
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc Not Specified
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 12106

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

Description

Details

1853 American Institute, New York medal. Gold, 28 mm. Awarded to Ebenezer Barrow for a superior Rotary Engine. Choice About Uncirculated. 255.9 grains. A charming antebellum award medal, struck on a fine gold planchet approximately the weight of a $10 gold piece. Dies by Robert Lovett Sr., signed LOVETT in the obverse exergue. At the 1853 fair, 25 gold medals were awarded, in addition to 147 silver medals, for everything from mustard to muskat traps. Books and other prizes were also given out by the judges, and every entrant received a diploma. For those who entered the same product, handiwork, or technology more than once, receiving a medal meant they could only receive diplomas everafter. Despite the fact that an American Institute medal was a prized form of recognition by artisans and inventors, this medal was tantamount to a $10 cash prize in gold -- most were cashed in (any bank or merchant could have thrown this on a scale and paid out throughout the 19th century) rather than being preserved as heirlooms. Today, while silver pieces are relatively common (I have a couple in stock), gold pieces are rarities. Heritage has only sold one of these over the years, an 1850 specimen awarded "for the best anvils" that brought $1840 in 2011. Graded MS-61 by NGC, it looks similar in quality to this one. StacksBowers had an 1847-dated example, graded AU, in November 2013, awarded for a "steam register and vacuum gage" (sic) that brought $1997.50. This one brought $552 in 2001, when you could buy a pretty nice Libertas Americana medal for $1500 and gold was well under $300 an ounce.

The present example is nicely preserved but, typical for these non-numismatically distributed medals, shows some fine evidence of handling, including some minor hairlines. The fields are deeply reflective and the edges are intact. The high wire rim shows a few scuffs, and a pair of short scratches are seen on a diagonal below the recipient's last name. 

Barrows' engine was apparently designed to run steamboats, and he received a good amount of press for his creation at the time. It was patented in England in 1851 and in the US in 1854. Barrows died in Brooklyn in 1858. 

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade RAW
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc Not Specified
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 12106

Related Blog Article(s)

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

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