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Commems Collection Medals: 1953 Jose Marti Birth Centennial

 
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 Posted 08/04/2021  07:35 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Here's a large (75 mm), heavy (230 grams, 8+ ounces) high-relief bronze medal that was issued to commemorate the centennial of the birth of José Martí.

Martí was a leading voice for Cuba's independence movements against Spain. Though he was a writer (with a specialty in poetry) and political revolutionary vs. being a soldier, he inspired others through his writings and rose to the status of "Hero" among the Cuban people.

For a nice biography on Martí, I recommend see the one at Biography.com: José Martí Biography.

The medal's obverse presents a left-facing portrait of Martí, with the inscription "CON TODOS Y PARA EL BIEN DE TODOS" encircling. The inscription translates to English as "WITH EVERYONE AND FOR THE GOOD OF EVERYONE." The line is from a speech made by Martí in Florida on November 26, 1891 at a political gathering at the Ignacio Agramonte Club in Tampa. He would use the phrase often moving forward. In addition the medal shown here, the phase is also part of the 1953 Cuba 50 Centavos commemorative coin struck by the US Mint.

The reverse is dominated by inscriptions, encircled by a wreath comprised of an olive branch (left) and oak branch (right). The olive branch symbolizes "Peace" and the oak branch represents "Strength." The two are an apt metaphor for Martí's largely peaceful approach to promoting revolution and his enduring strength in the face of imprisonment and exile on two occasions. (These two devices are often seen on US coins, as well.) At the top of the medal, the inscription translates to"Republic of Cuba" and lists Marti's birth date - January 28 - flanked by the centennial anniversary years - "1853 - 1953." The center inscriptions translate as "Commemorative Medal of the Centennial of the Birth of Jose Martí."

1953 José Martí Birth Centennial Commemorative Medal


From the appearance of its surfaces, the medal appears to have been cast vs. struck. Its devices are in very high relief, and would have taken many annealing/strike cycles, with the strikes coming under very high pressure, to strike up the design properly/fully. Casting would eliminate this extreme manufacturing process and allow for a relatively straightforward production with more limited technical equipment.

It is a nice companion to the multiple commemorative coins the US Mint struck on behalf of Cuba for the anniversary. Here is my 1953 Martí One Peso and Fifty Centavos coin (the reverse of the 50C coin features the same motto/phrase seen on the medal):

1953 José Martí Birth Centennial Commemorative Peso



1953 José Martí Birth Centennial Commemorative 50 Centavos


If you enjoy seeing numismatic commemorations of Cuban history, check out:

- 1950 Cuba National Flag 100th Anniversary
- 1952 50th Anniversary of Cuban Republic






Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 08/04/2021  10:38 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fascinating piece and background.

Since the Communist takeover of Cuba, do you find that they still revere these figures? I wonder if this type of material is still available to the citizenry.
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 Posted 08/04/2021  12:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Since the Communist takeover of Cuba, do you find that they still revere these figures?

My understanding is that Marti is still a prominent figure. His birthday is among Cuba's annual observed holidays (though not a full National Holiday that involves Government/Business closures.)

Of course, I haven't been to Cuba to poll the "man on the street" for his/her opinion.


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 Posted 08/04/2021  4:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I would assume anything not critical of the current regime is allowed. Seeing as how was not alive long enough to form an opinion on post-revolution Cuba, I am sure his contributions are still celebrated.
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