Irregular Postings on Coin Collecting & Numismatics - Both Canonical & Conanical

A Scion Society of The Baker Street Irregulars

Numismatists Do Not Fear Change

January HolmeWork Assignment: The Sherlock Holmes Centennial Art Medal Collection

January HolmeWork Assignment: The Sherlock Holmes Centennial Art Medal Collection

sherlock_speech

 

In the February 1986 issue of Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, the 13th Garrideb, Peter E. Blau, published this nugget:

The Newcastle Mint (6512 Belgrave, Garden Grove, CA 92645) has announced “The Sherlock Holmes 100 Year Commemorative Art Medal Collection” 72 art medals, 3 cm. in diameter, minted in pure gold on fine pewter ($20.00 each) or in pure silver ($30.00 each) to be issued monthly beginning in March, in an edition strictly limited to 1,500 numbered sets, with a subscription deadline of Feb. 15, 1986. The announcement was received Jan. 31, along with a letter offering additional brochures and saying that they will be happy to extend the Feb. 15 deadline, so I assume that there’s still plenty of time for people to sign up for this $1,440.00 (or $2,160.00) collection.

When reading this for the first time, the mention of 72 medals came as a bit of a shock. There are only 60 stories in The Canon and most other medal series produced for other topics have a much smaller number of designs. Is the 72 number a typo? One medal a month would take 6 years to complete the series. This does seem a tad ambitious.

Nearly a year and a half later, Roger Johnson ends the July 6, 1987 issue of The District Messenger for the Sherlock Holmes Society of London with this item:

The Newcastle Mint (2745 Winnetka Ave. N., Suite 139, New Hope, MN 55427, USA offers THE SHERLOCK HOLMES CENTENNIAL ART MEDAL COLLECTION: 12 medals in .999 fine silver at $30 each medal. 

So in 18 months time, the Newcastle Mint has moved from California to Minnesota, we’ve reduced the 72 medals to 12 medals, and the pure gold on pewter option seems to be gone.  I’m going on the presumption that these two news items refer to the same business venture.

At the December 12, 2014 meeting of The Red Circle in Washington, DC, I had a discussion with Peter Blau on this topic. According to Blau’s recollections, the Newcastle Mint only struck one medal and the other 11 (or 71) medals never game to fruition.

 Newcastle Mint Medal

OBVERSE: CENTENNIAL 1886 – 1986/ (bust of Sherlock Holmes, facing left, wearing deerstalker hat and with pipe) / SHERLOCK HOLMES

REVERSE: NEWCASTLE MINT / (Newcastle Mint logo) / (rectangular box where serial number is engraved) / LIMITED EDITION

30mm, .999 Silver, Round

A personal comment – For being an “art” medal, this is an absolutely horrible design, especially when compared to other medals we have featured on this website, such as this one or this one.

Now, here is your HolmeWork assignment:

  • I’ve only seen one of these medals and it’s serial number was 11.  What other numbers are there?  How many of the 1,500 limited edition were actually struck?
  • Has anyone seen a pure gold on pewter version of this medal, as originally advertised?
  • Has anyone seen any of the 11, or 71, other medals, in either metal finish?
  • Does anyone have any accompanying ephemera for these medals? Flyers, order forms, advertising, or certificates of authenticity, etc…
  • Does anyone know of any other medals that the Newcastle Mint has struck?

Looking forward to seeing what bits of information the rest of you might be able to share!

UPDATE 1/30/2015 – See our post The Sherlock Holmes Centennial Art Medal Collection: An Update

UPDATE 9/11/2015 – See our post The Sherlock Holmes Centennial Art Medal Collection: An Update – 4 Medals!

One Response to January HolmeWork Assignment: The Sherlock Holmes Centennial Art Medal Collection

Leave a reply