Randy K. writes: I’m looking for information on a “medallion” “coin” probably a commemorative or souvenir coin medallion. Has no face “currency” value such as $ to it. It has on it a raised portrait of U.S. Grant with Presidency of U.S. Grant across the top. At the bottom it says “The Oceans United By Railroad” and the date May 10, 1869. On the other side it has a raised portion depicting the railroads meeting with “Every Mountain Shall Be Made Low”. Across the top with “Medal Series Of The U.S. Mint”, J. Pollock Director at the bottom and a W. Barber with another mark I can’t make out but might be a “F”. It is about 1 3/4″ diameter and a little more than 1/8″ thick made of “?” and bronze or copper coated. I would like to find out when and where it was minted, what it is made of, and any value it might have, plus any appropriate history of it.
This is a United States Mint Medal commemorating the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. William Barber was the Mint Engraver that created the design.
The obverse shows a Bust of President Ulysses S. Grant with the legend PRESIDENCY OF U.S. GRANT, in exergue, THE OCEANS UNITED BY RAILWAY MAY 10, 1869. BARBER is on the truncation.
The Reverse shows a mountainous landscape in the West with train running to right. A scroll above reads EVERY MOUNTAIN SHALL BE MADE LOW and in exergue there is inscribed MEDAL SERIES OF THE U.S. MINT J. POLLACK DIRECTOR AND W. BARBER F.
The medal is 45 mm in diameter. It was first struck in mid-November of 1869 and reproductions in goldine have been available from the United States Mint since then. The originals were struck in Gold, Silver and Copper. Only one medal was struck in gold and that was presented to President Grant in 1869. The original copper pieces have a deep chocolate finish. The modern reproduction have a golden looking finish.