Lot 9010: St. Louis 1904 Gold Gilt ‘Grand Prize’ Medal
19th January 2017
Extremely rare ‘grand prize’ shield medal issued at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Gilted bronze, 63 mm x 76, 147 gm, designed by Adolph A. Weinman and struck by the US Mint at Philadelphia. The front depicts Columbia, with arms spread wide holding the United States flag, beside a youthful maiden representing the Louisiana Purchase Territory; against a rising sun, the girl is disrobing the cloak of France, the material decorated with bees, the emblem of Napoleon, with raised text and date encircling the image, “Universal Exposition–Saint Louis–United States of America, MCMIV." The reverse shows a large eagle with wings spread above a tablet, “Grand Prize, Louisiana Purchase Exposition," with two dolphins below symbolizing the nations' eastern and western boundaries, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Weinman later designed the Walking Liberty half-dollar and Mercury dime. The rarest of all Exposition medals, the 1906 Engraver’s Notebook indicates that a total of 3,300 Grand Prize medals were awarded in St. Louis, a number considerably lower than the listed 9,000 gold, 11,550 silver, 10,000 bronze, and 6,000 commemorative medals. This gilt variation is exceedingly rare, as the typical grand prize medals were in the same ‘government bronze’ finish as all the other medals.
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