Assay Commission Medals
Estimate: 1'500 USD
Starting price: 1 USD
Price realized: 1'560 USD
1874 United States Assay Commission Medal. Silver. 33 mm. By William Barber. JK AC-13a. Rarity-5. Specimen-64 (PCGS).
This is a richly original example with gorgeous olive-gray toning to the obverse and even bolder steel-gray patina adorning the reverse. Iridescent undertones are discernible at direct viewing angles, especially on the obverse, and semi-reflective qualities in the fields are also evident as the medal rotates under a light. Fully struck with solid Choice quality and a pleasant appearance. With a mintage of at least 38 specimens, the 1874 has one of the higher press runs among Assay Commission medals from the 1870s. The increased production is primarily due to a request from Thomas Acton of the New York Assay Office, who had been selected to sit on the 1874 Commission. Acton requested up to 15 examples for distribution to friends in New York, and he received at least 10 pieces on March 4. Twenty five examples had already been struck on February 11, 1874, Mint officials James Pollock, Archibald Loudon Snowden, William Barber, Booth and DuBois each receiving one medal with the remaining going to either Mint Director Henry R. Linderman or the commissioners themselves. The German ambassador also received two examples on March 11. Much of this had been done over protests from Superintendent Pollock, who opposed the loose distribution of these medals.
Today, the 1874 is one of the more frequently encountered Assay Commission medals of its era. With the quality and eye appeal offered here, however, the issue is scarce and always in demand among specialists.