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Commems Collection: 1925 Norse-American Centennial

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 Posted 05/25/2012  7:17 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Tonight I thought I'd post a bit of info on the 1925 Norse-American Centennial medal as it is very often collected alongside the coins of the classic series. In fact, many early coin dealers promoted this association through their advertisements for US commemorative coins by including the Norse-American medal within their coin listings. I've included images of two of the three examples in my collection.

The first large group of Norwegians arrived in America in 1825 via the sloop Restaurationen; they arrived in New York. As immigrants from Norway eventually became a large and important part of the US population, the Norse-American medal was sponsored and struck to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first immigrant group and was issued as part of the event's celebration in 1925.

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The Norse medal is the work of noted sculptor James Earle Fraser; Fraser was pursued when "first choice" Gutson Borglum proved unavailable due to his work on the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial (and coin). The obverse features "a Viking chieftain setting foot on American soil with a Viking ship in the background..." On the reverse is seen "a Viking ship under full sail..." (See the Souvenir Booklet Medal Page below for more details.)

There are three primary types of Norse-American medal, with two varieties of one of the types:
  • 1a. Silver, Thin Planchet: the first medals to be struck, 6,000 were produced
  • 1b. Silver, Thick Planchet: 33,750 were struck (Anthony Swiatek has suggested that 2,000 may have been returned to the Mint for melting)
  • 2. Gold: 100 struck, 53 returned to the Mint for melting (47 net mintage)
  • 3. Bronze: 75 struck, triple-plated with silver outside of the Mint

It remains unclear if the reason for the two varieties of the silver medal was the result of the Norse-American Centennial Commission's dissatisfaction with the quality of the initial "thin" medals or if the Commission was just following in the footsteps of the Alabama, Grant and Missouri coin commissions. In any case, today's collector has two silver medals to seek out to keep their commemorative sets "complete." (Note: The lower mintage Thin Variety maintains a distinct price premium over the Thick Variety, especially at higher grades.)

As noted above, the Commission returned 53 of the gold medals to the Mint for melting; this action was taken to help the Commission pay for amounts owed to the Mint for the production of the medals. With just 47 pieces available to collectors and a close natural tie to the classic US commemorative series, the gold Norse medal is sought after by many US commemorative collectors and is typically actively bid upon when examples come up at auction.

Shown below is the Silver, Thick Variety medal in PCGS MS-64. It is a nice brilliant example with good luster. The Norse medals were struck on planchets of "coin silver" (i.e., the same 0.900 fine silver composition as the US silver coins of the era) and were struck in the same manner as coins by the Mint. So, the strike and surface characteristics of the medals essentially mimic those of standard US silver coins (including the classic commemoratives). My Thin Variety piece (not shown) is visually the same as my Thick medal.

I've also included an image of my gold medal in PCGS Proof 64. Unlike the uncirculated silver medals, the gold medals were struck as matte proofs. The medal shown has nice surfaces and a pleasant olive-gold hue. I've enjoyed owning the piece over the years -- it's always been a good conversation starter!

In addition to the US Mint medal, I've shown two examples of the souvenir badge that was available at the 1925 celebration. The one-sided medal depicts (somewhat simplistically) the sloop Restaurationen. They were made by the Greenduck Company in Chicago; I've seen them in gold, silver and bronze colors. (I don't believe they contain any precious metal). Shown are the "gold" and "silver" -- I couldn't put my hands on my "bronze" example in time for tonight's post.

Lastly, I've included images of a few pages from the official Souvenir Edition Program for the Norse-American Centennial celebration below. The Forward provides brief background information about the Norse immigration to America along with some details about the planned celebration; there's also a page with additional information regarding the medal.

Enjoy!


1925 Norse-American Centennial Medal / Silver -- Obverse




1925 Norse-American Centennial Medal / Silver -- Reverse




1925 Norse-American Centennial Medal / Gold -- Obverse




1925 Norse-American Centennial Medal / Gold -- Reverse




Souvenir Badges from the 1925 Norse-American Centennial Celebration






Norse-American Centennial Celebration Souvenir Program -- Title Page




Norse-American Centennial Celebration Souvenir Program -- Forward



Norse-American Centennial Celebration Souvenir Program -- Medal Page



Note: The above claim by the Norse-American Centennial Commission as to the Norse medal being the first commemorative medal authorized by the US Congress is incorrect -- several others had come before it. It was good for publicity at the time, however!

Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 05/25/2012  9:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow ... geepers commems ... truly ... you have a PR64 Morse gold medal ... stunning and amazing and all else I can say.

This is indeed a rare and valued US Mint issue ... and your example is the first I have ever seen.

I have no words to express my appreciation for your set ... and most importantly ... what you have shared with all of us.

You have a museum quality collection ... humbled and pleased that you are sharing it with us.

David
Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 05/27/2012  04:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add southsav to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow! Thanks for sharing.
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 Posted 05/27/2012  9:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@nickelsearcher: Thanks again for the kind and supportive words. I'm glad you enjoyed having a look at the gold Norse! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to acquire it a few years back -- it isn't the type of piece that comes up for sale everyday!

Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 05/29/2012  10:13 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add wquinn to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Pretty cool coins and design.

You have an awesome collection!
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 Posted 05/30/2012  12:31 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Not Mint to Be to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That is undoubtly the best looking gold Norse that I have seen. I wonder if there are any pocketpiece gold Norses out there?
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 Posted 05/30/2012  12:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CoinsKelly to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks a lot - now thanks to you and the copper guys, I will be broke! Just kidding.

These are beautiful coins and the fact that you include the pages and so much background information on them really makes this a good read.
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 Posted 06/06/2012  11:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Not Mint to Be to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The Gold Norse isn't listed in the PCGS pop report but is part of the Norse Registry set. BTW my Norse Registry set has both the Thick and Thin in AG03.
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 Posted 06/07/2012  11:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add D0ubl3Eagle to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow! Thanks for sharing!
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 Posted 07/17/2012  10:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NCViking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Just saw the amazing photos of the Norse American Centennial medals and was very impressed. As soon as I can figure out how to upload photos, I'll post my 3" unplated bronze.
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 Posted 01/18/2013  12:04 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add zookr to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Less than 50 made o_o that is ultra-rare - wow, very nice.
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 Posted 03/16/2013  11:58 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add zookr to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Darn! Just missed the opportunity of a thick planchet one @ $90 shipped from eBay - good condition too.
Edited by zookr
03/16/2013 12:00 pm
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 Posted 03/16/2013  11:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@zookr: Fortunately, the 'Thick' variety of the Norse medal is common enough that I'm sure you'll have another opportunity. Keep hunting!

Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 03/17/2013  11:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add zookr to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My consolation prize was the 7 commemorative coins from the Franklin Mint for St. Patricks Day (w/cachets), minted from 1972-1978 (got the whole set) under $200 -

http://item.mobileweb.ebay.com/view...230946444500
Edited by zookr
03/17/2013 11:40 pm
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 Posted 10/14/2013  7:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Indian1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I just noticed this post. Thanks.
Brought back my find from a few years ago.
Kinda wish I never sold it actually.
Also slight regrets (not that the service was excellent)
that I used stacks/bowers to sell it for me. I think I could of done better on eBay with it. But let's not get greedy here

I was clueless to what it actually was at the time that I payed $20.00 for it at my flea market table. But that's what
the seller wanted for it so I took a chance. Thought maybe it was at least silver
Glad it was not. I used to just stare at it before I found out what it actually was and said to myself, why did you buy
a $20.00 paperweight ?
After a few months of research and some help from Mr. Swoger
i learned all about it. All in all my best profit to date on a single sale. The seller had picked it up at a local antique dealer nearby me here in No. Mass. for a few bucks.
I did go back to that dealer a while ago just to check to see if there were any more collecting dust. None. Oh well !
Many who looked at it thought it should of got an MS63 grade. But I was still happy. Just wanted to re-share.

Right click image (after opening link) then view "image" for a larger pic.

http://i1020.photobucket.com/albums...dal-ms62.jpg






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