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A 1876 Four Piece Centennial Set

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I have to confess. When I first starting looking for this set I did not know exactly what the set looked like. I first became interested in these medals when I saw the small silver piece in the original box of issue. Then I learned that there was a four piece set. I could find only one dealer who had one. It was in his personal collection and he was not selling it. After that I paid through the nose for a certified example of the small silver medal which is listed in the So-Called Dollars book as HK-20, which came with the original box.






Finally I found this set at the most recent Winter FUN show.




The four pieces include two 57 mm medals in copper gilt and white metal and two 38mm medals in copper gilt and silver. All of the medals are hairlined because they have proabably all been in this velvet lined box for almost 140 years. I was able to do some research and found the following about mintages and issue prices.




The mint issued 2,100 of these copper gilt medals and the price was $3.00 each.




Just 583 examples of this white metal piece was issued, and the price was $1.00.




The mintage for this 38mm copper gilt medal was "about 10,500" pieces, and the issue price was 50 cents.




Finally the mintage for the silver piece is listed as "about 10,133." These pieces and the previous medal were struck and sold at the fair, and the price was $3.00.


In total that would make the total original issue price for this set $7.50 plus whatever, if anything, they might charged for the case. That was not an inconsequential amount in 1876, I am a bit surprised that they were able to over 10,000 of the silver medals at $3.00 each.

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That's a great looking set, Bill.


By any chance, do you know the mintage of the 4-piece set? Since the white metal specimen had a mintage of 583, I have to assume that it was pretty low.



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A mintage of 583 would be pretty low for a coin, but it's actually quite high for a 19th century medal. That piece, incidentally, does not feel like the usual "junk medal" that one associates with a white metal item. It almost fells like silver so far as the density goes, but the luster is wrong. The while metal 38mm piece is quite rare BTW. Only three are known.


So far as how many four pieces sets were issued, probably no one knows. If they had the boxes sitting around at the fair and only filled them when someone ordered a set over the counter, probably no records were kept. If they pre-assembled the boxes and then sold maybe there was a record, but I tend to doubt it.


No one knows how many Proof sets were issued during the 1936 to '42 period. The number of complete sets can only be limited by the lowest mintage of a given coin. For example in 1936 it was quarter.


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Very cool, hadn't seen the 4-piece set like that before. Thanks for sharing. I like many of the so-called dollars, but have always liked the 1876 centennial medals especially.



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