Tuesday, November 3, 2015


The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 37, September 16, 2007, Article 7


A unique and very important medal was sold recently in a Rockland,
Maine estate sale, as reported by Sam Pennington of The Maine
Antique Digest:

"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."

Antiques and the Arts interviewed the auctioneer about the piece:

"A gold medal presented to Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1854 for
his efforts in Japan was a glittering draw for collectors at Bruce
Gamage Jr's annual Maine summer auction on August 27. Marking what
the auctioneer characterized as a 'career high' sale, the medal
sold for $165,000 to an anonymous New York City buyer on the phone.

"The medal came from a local summer family, according to Gamage.

"'I knew it was gold and I knew it was good, but I decided to estimate
it on the value of the gold rather than historical considerations,'
said Gamage of the lot's $4/6,000 initial presale estimate. After the
week went by, however, 'I was getting all of these calls [about the
medal], and that's when I began thinking it might bring $30/40,000.'

"The annual estate auction was, as Gamage said by telephone afterwards,
'A fun sale,' grossing close to a half million dollars, which is about
as good as it has been in Gamage's 39-year career."

To read the complete article and view images of the medal, see:
Full Story

[Ads published in Sam Pennington's Maine Antique Digest and website
alerted collectors to the offering.  Sam is working on a longer piece
for the MCA Advisory.  Were any of our readers among those bidding
on the piece?  -Editor]

To view the Maine Antique Digest web ad for the sale, see:

No comments:

Post a Comment