Few presidents have left their personal stamp on history the way the “Rough Rider” president, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, did. After becoming president in 1901 upon the death of William McKinley, Roosevelt brought a new and open form of government to Washington, D.C. He was, as is generally the case with presidents, as much respected as he was despised. However, he had friends in the world of fine arts, including Augustus Saint-Gaudens – we all know the familiar tale of their collaboration to bring about the MCMVII High Relief double eagle coinage, but few know of the Roosevelt Inaugural medal of 1905.
Designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the 1905 Roosevelt Inaugural medal came at a time when Saint-Gaudens was involved in numerous other projects, and so after making careful sketches and other artistic decisions, the artist turned the actual work on the medal over to Adolph A. Weinman, his star pupil at the time. Weinman, who would go on to design the Mercury dime and Walking Liberty half dollar a decade later. Three of the Inaugural medals were cast in gold, and 125 were cast in bronze, all by Tiffany & Co. of New York City; Saint-Gaudens insisted they were the only firm capable of making the finished product.
The recent reawakening of medal collecting in America has brought to the fore many medals of beauty and quality reaching back to the early days of our nation right up to today. In the field of Inaugural medals, no single issue is more important than the Roosevelt issues of 1905, both gold and bronze. They are rare, of course, but other things set them apart. They are the product of two greats of the American arts scene, and were made by Tiffany & Co. to the highest exacting standards of the artists themselves.
Our most recent offering of one of these rare medals was in our August 2012 Philadelphia A.N.A. sale, an EF example that realized $21,150 when the bidding dust settled. We anticipate strong bidding when the currently offered example crosses the block in February. We hope to see you at the sale in New York City and we hope to see your bidding paddle held high! Or if you can’t attend in person, be sure to place your bids on line either before the sale or by bidding live during the auction.