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Historic 1869 Benjamin Franklin Medal by Joseph Wharton

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Historic 1869 Benjamin Franklin Medal by Joseph Wharton

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Details

1869 Joseph Wharton Benjamin Franklin medal. Bronze, 53 mm. Greenslet GM-71. Mint State. Rich bronzed chocolate brown surfaces show an even, glossy patina nearly ideal to those produced by the U.S. Mint in this era. The surfaces are attractive and free of major issues, with just a small area of minor surface marks in the right obverse field and a thin linear planchet fissure behind Franklin's head to P of ERIPUIT. This rare medal was the combined effort of two influential Philadelphians: Robert Lovett Jr., the famed engraver whose attractive cursive signature is seen under the truncation of Franklin's bust, and Joseph Wharton, the namesake of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania who founded Bethlehem Steel. Wharton is most important numismatically for his work pioneering the use of nickel, and his extensive business and political connections led to nickel becoming an important coining metal at the U.S. Mint in the 1860s. He even wrote a book on the topic in 1877, entitled Memorandum Concerning Small Money and Nickel Alloy Coinage. 

Wharton clearly knew a thing or two about numismatics, and knew how to appeal to those who collected and produced coins and medals. This medal was first struck in 1864; this variety is dated 1869, but it really an 1869/4 overdate modified from the original form. The obverse legend "Coelo Eripuit Fulmen Sceptrumque Tyrannis" is a part of a quote from the economist Turgot about Franklin ("He snatched the scepter from tyrants") which was used in a more complete form on the Betts-619 and Betts-620 Franklin medals by Augustin Dupre dated 1784 and 1786. The reverse of this medal essentially served as an advertisement for Wharton's commercial coining metal operations, noting "The metals composing this medal, copper, zinc, nickel, were manufactured by JOSEPH WHARTON, of Philadelphia, PA, from ores mined from him in Pennsylvania." Clearly very few were distributed, as they remain very rare today. Greenslet calls the medal Rarity-7 (11-15 known). This is the first I've owned. Its story parallels the story of nickel pattern and cent production at the US Mint. Of course, any proud Penn graduate (or alumni of Swarthmore, which Wharton also helped found) would be pleased to have this Wharton medal in his or her collection.

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 # 17020

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

Description

Details

1869 Joseph Wharton Benjamin Franklin medal. Bronze, 53 mm. Greenslet GM-71. Mint State. Rich bronzed chocolate brown surfaces show an even, glossy patina nearly ideal to those produced by the U.S. Mint in this era. The surfaces are attractive and free of major issues, with just a small area of minor surface marks in the right obverse field and a thin linear planchet fissure behind Franklin's head to P of ERIPUIT. This rare medal was the combined effort of two influential Philadelphians: Robert Lovett Jr., the famed engraver whose attractive cursive signature is seen under the truncation of Franklin's bust, and Joseph Wharton, the namesake of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania who founded Bethlehem Steel. Wharton is most important numismatically for his work pioneering the use of nickel, and his extensive business and political connections led to nickel becoming an important coining metal at the U.S. Mint in the 1860s. He even wrote a book on the topic in 1877, entitled Memorandum Concerning Small Money and Nickel Alloy Coinage. 

Wharton clearly knew a thing or two about numismatics, and knew how to appeal to those who collected and produced coins and medals. This medal was first struck in 1864; this variety is dated 1869, but it really an 1869/4 overdate modified from the original form. The obverse legend "Coelo Eripuit Fulmen Sceptrumque Tyrannis" is a part of a quote from the economist Turgot about Franklin ("He snatched the scepter from tyrants") which was used in a more complete form on the Betts-619 and Betts-620 Franklin medals by Augustin Dupre dated 1784 and 1786. The reverse of this medal essentially served as an advertisement for Wharton's commercial coining metal operations, noting "The metals composing this medal, copper, zinc, nickel, were manufactured by JOSEPH WHARTON, of Philadelphia, PA, from ores mined from him in Pennsylvania." Clearly very few were distributed, as they remain very rare today. Greenslet calls the medal Rarity-7 (11-15 known). This is the first I've owned. Its story parallels the story of nickel pattern and cent production at the US Mint. Of course, any proud Penn graduate (or alumni of Swarthmore, which Wharton also helped found) would be pleased to have this Wharton medal in his or her collection.

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 # 17020

Related Blog Article(s)

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

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John Kraljevich Americana