$165,000.00 for Perry’s Gold MedalCommodore Perry’s Gold Medal
by Samuel Pennington
The* gold medal presented to Commodore Matthew C. Perry by merchants of Boston “…in token of their appreciation of his services in negotiating the treaty with Japan signed at Yoku-Hama, March 31, and with Lew Chew at Napa, July 11, 1854…” sold with its raggedy original case for $165,000 (including buyer’s premium) to one of ten phone bidders at Bruce Gamage’s auction in Rockland, Maine, on Monday, August 27.
The medal was struck in 1856 at the U.S. Mint on request and paid for by the Boston merchants. There was this one gold medal struck along with 20 silver medals and 104 bronze medals.
The price far exceeded the most ambitious presale estimate of $30,000/40,000 posited by serious buyers. According to auctioneer Gamage, the buyer was a collector from New York City who wishes to remain anonymous. The underbidder on the floor was New York City coin and medals dealer Anthony Terranova.
Not that it mattered in the end, but Gamage said he had weighed the medal on a gram scale and gave that weight and the size to one of the phone bidders who determined that it “contained at least five thousand dollars worth of gold.” Gamage also took the medal to a local jeweler, but did not do any potentially destructive testing using acid.
Gamage said the medal was consigned on behalf of a Long Island, New York, estate. There was no information at the auction as to how and when it left the Perry family.
*Designated PE-26 in Medals of the United States Mint: The First Century 1792-1892 by R.W. Julian, reprinted and updated in 1977 by the Token and Medal Society.