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A Medal for Your Thoughts
February 25, 2009

Just how popular are medals produced by the U.S. Mint?

In the last four decades or so in which I have been active, they always have seemed to be the Cinderellas, though in the case of medals, they never went to a ball or met a handsome collector to rescue them.

Years ago I ordered a group of the standard copper Presidential medals for an article. The 1-5/16th-inch medals are all nice looking. The Mint's workmanship is first-rate.

But in the back of my mind there is always a voice telling me, "These are not coins. These are not coins. Move along to the real thing."

The medals ended up in a drawer somewhere. I couldn't tell you where they are now or how long it might take me to find them.

I know there will always be medals in the hobby. Some are interesting. Some catch on as the John Wayne medal did in 1978. But as a group, they just don't seem to resonate, do they?

Why am I writing this today? Well, I recently did a story about a muled medal where an Abigail Adams obverse was paired with a Louisa Adams reverse in the First Spouse series.

Interesting? Yes, but that voice in the back of my mind still says, "These are not coins."

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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