Ralphal M. writes: Dear Coin Doc: I have a coin with the name of Rutherford B. Hayes and a head on the front of the coin and the back has inaugurated March 5, 1877 and the President of the United States. What could you tell me about this coin?
Your medal (coins have denominations) is an original or copy of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential inauguration medal. The dies for this medal were engraved by George T. Morgan of “Morgan Dollar” fame.
Obv: RUTHERFORD B. HAYES around bust to left. MORGAN on truncation. Rev: INAUGURATED MARCH 5. 1877 within a laurel wreath surrounded by the legend: PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Size is 76 mm (about 3 inches in diameter).
The original pieces were minted only on copper flans and most examples are seen toned a deep chocolate color. The 20th century Mint copies are struck in a brass alloy, have a “golden” color and are smaller in size than the Mint issues sold to the public in 1878. The Mint brass copies are still available from the Mint catalog.
This medal was the first of the presidential medals marketed and sold to the public. Value Range (originals) $50 – $150 (depending on grade).