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I Finally Found What I was Looking For



I am already finding the new ANA searchable database of The Numismatist quite useful in finding information I thought didnt exist or was lost.

A few years ago I bought a three medal set of ANA convention medals enclosed in a plexiglass holder. The 1969 medals struck in bronze and silver commemorate the 78th annual convention of the ANA held in Philadelphia, Pa.

The main attraction to these medals designed by US Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro is the obverse rendition of Lady Liberty reminiscent of the 1781 Libertas Americana medal. Interestingly, the design of the 1969 ANA medals was to be a prototype for a new small-size dollar in 1979. However, Gasparros liberty cap design was overruled by Congress and President Jimmy Carter in favor of Susan B. Anthony. At that time I was a YN and I remember being very disappointed that Gasparros Liberty Cap design was not chosen. Thus, with no dollar coin to collect, I opted for the 1969 ANA convention medals instead.

After I bought the medals I searched for any information I could find on them. This led me to check out a book from the ANAs library that I thought might shed a little light on the subject. Unfortunately, the information I found in the book was sparse and incomplete. With apparently nowhere else to look, I mailed the book back to the ANA and my search temporarily ended. That was until...

...Until the recent launch by the ANA of a searchable database for every issue of The Numismatist. Naturally, the first thing I did after signing up was to read Volume 1 Number 1. Then, I thought to give the database a trial run and I reopened my quest to find any pertinent information about the medals.

My first search query, 1969 ANA medal returned too many links. Then I narrowed my search by adding the word convention and the number of links shrunk considerably. On about the third link I had my, Eureka, I found it moment! What I found was three pages (pages 973-975) of the June 1973 issue of The Numismatist with all the information I could ever want on my medals and then some!

Another link returned a two-part article by David Lange chronicling how the Susan B. Anthony Dollar came about. Those articles are found in the 2010 January and February Issues of The Numismatist. For future reference, I found 93 references to Laura Gardin Fraser that will be very helpful in piecing together my new collection based on her work.

Now without any further ado, May I present a small sampling of the information I gleaned from an article written by ANA historian, Neil Harris in the June 1973 issue of The Numismatist.

There are three medals and two looped pendant badges that make up a complete set of 1969 ANA convention medals, and all of them were manufactured by the Medallic Art Co. of New York. The pendant badges are struck in bronze measuring 38 and 19 mm in quantities of 2,300 and 500 respectively. The 38 mm pendant is suspended by a ribbon to a gilt bordered name plate with a rear pin clasp. The 19 mm lady size pendant is suspended by a ribbon with a rear pin clasp. Each conventioneer received one or the other badges with their $3 registration fee. With a total convention registration of 7,722 I'm not quite sure how this worked out.

Separate from the badges is a three medal set that includes a 38 and 19 mm bronze medal along with a 38 mm silver medal. The inscription on the edge of the 38 mm bronze and silver medals is that of the manufacturer, MEDALLIC ART CO. N.Y. along with the medals serial number (the serial number of my medals is 259). Furthermore, the edge of the silver medal has the inscription, .999+ PURE SILVER. The three medals are attractively housed inside a plexiglass holder with a ribbon swatch across the face. The mintage of the three medal set is 400 and the original issue price was $15.00.

The obverse of the three medals portrays Frank Gasparros rendition of Lady Liberty likened to that of the Liberty Capped Half Cent of 1793 and the previously mentioned 1781 Libertas Americana medal. The Liberty Capped Half Cent was among the first coins produced by the newly opened 1792 Philadelphia Mint. Around the rim of the medal is thirteen stars representing the thirteen original states and the legend 1969 Annual Convention, Philadelphia.

There are several reverse devices featured on this medal. The main central device is an eagle symbolic of the United States. In back of the eagle is the newly dedicated Philadelphia Mint with a glory radiating from behind it. To the right of the Philadelphia mint is Independence Hall located in Philadelphia representing our independence. Finally, the seal of The American Numismatic Association is just below Independence Hall and to the right of the eagle. The top rim features the legend 78th ANNIVERSARY while underneath the eagle on the bottom rim is the legend, AMERICAN NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION.

The fourth US Mint in Philadelphia was dedicated on August 14,1969 in conjunction with the 78th anniversary convention of the American Numismatic Association. The fourth mint can produce a million coins in thirty minutes while it took up to three years for the first mint to produce that many coins. Thus the theme of this medal with a representative device of Americas first coins on the obverse and the fourth mint surrounded by a glory and iconic images on the reverse shows the heritage and growth of coinage in America prospered by independence and freedom.

In summary, I hope you find the ANAs searchable database of The Numismatist as useful as I have!



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