Jim O. writes: Doc: While metal detecting an old farm near my house, I found what I believe is a centennial “card” from the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Although I have found some information on this Exhibition and the “cards” associated with it, I cannot seem to find this particular “card” in any of these reference materials. The “card” is round, about 26 mm in diameter and made of copper or brass. It has a bust of George Washington on the front and an engraving of the Exhibition’s Memorial Hall, along with the words “EXHIBITION”, “PHILADELPHIA” and “CENTENNIAL” and the date 1876, on the back. Any idea where I can find information about this particular “card” and what it may be worth?
You have a Washington medal from the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876. It was originally conceived as an American Fair to celebrate the centennial but expanded into a World’s Fair with exhibitions of arts, agriculture and manufacturing. Every country with diplomatic relations with the United States was represented.
The fair was held in Philadelphia from May 10 to November 10, 1876. There were five buildings built in Fairmount Park: a Main Exhibition building, Memorial Hall (an art gallery), Horticultural Hall, Agricultural Hall and Machinery Hall. The fairground covered about seventy-five acres. The Main Exhibition Building covered 21 acres. Around 10 million visitors attended. There are enough different Washington medals from this fair to start a challenging collection. The Centennial Memorial Building medal was struck in gilt, copper and white metal. Value range in average circulated condition US$35-$60.