Betty & Daniel P. write: We have a 1939 New York Worlds Fair coin. Where can we find out it’s value?
Coins are issued by governments of countries and usually show a denomination or value. There might have been some commemorative coins made by foreign countries, sixty-three countries participated in the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair, but you don’t mention which country that might be. The United States didn’t issue commemorative coins for this event.
There were many different tokens and medals made, some were used as “good-fors” at specific events, there were 50,000 exhibits. There were many Federal displays but none by the United States Mint. There were both official tokens and official medals issued. The most common are 1 1/4 inch in bronze and brass, 2 1/4 inch and 3 inch in bronze. These are of nominal value and quite plentiful. The most collectable are listed below:
Oval shaped – Trylon and Perisphere, NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR around, the date 1939 below. Rev: within a beaded oval OFFICIAL TOKEN CREATED BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MARCH 27TH 1939. Grover W. Whalen (his signature) PRESIDENT. Around the beaded border NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR 1939 INCORPORATED. This medal was designed by H.C. Kreis and struck by the Medallic Art Co. and sold by Manufactures Trust Co. at a branch established at the Fair. It was called the “World’s Fair Dollar” probably because they charged $1 for each one. This medal was struck in silver and is very scarce. Value Range: $150+.
Palladium “Dollar” – This was privately issued by Baker & Co. which eventually became part of Engelhard Industries. They were sold in four sizes at Baker’s booth at the World’s Fair: 1/2 ounce, 1 ounce, 5 ounce and 10 ounce palladium coins at $26 per ounce. The obverse shows the Trylon and Perisphere with a circular ramp, above, GOLD SILVER AND PLATINUM METALS. Around, BAKER & CO. – PRECIOUS METAL REFINERY – NEWARK, N.J. U.S.A. N.Y.-CHICAGO – SAN FRANCISCO-TORONTO-LONDON-PARIS-TOKIO, below, NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR 1939. Rev: Statue, at left PALLAS to right, ATHENA. THIS CHARM IS GENUINE PALLADIUM, below, GODDESS OF WISDOM*BESTOWER OF GOOD FORTUNE*GUARDIAN OF HEALTH.
Most of the Palladium pieces were redeemed over the years and so the remaining pieces are quite rare. They are even more valuable if supplied in the original black leatherette jeweler’s box labeled “Baker & Co., Inc Newark, N.J. The numismatic premium over the palladium value would be several multiples.