Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933)


A detailed guide to the Medals can be found here — The Book.  Also, the Medals are discussed on this Coin World podcast and this Newman Numismatic Portal Symposium presentation.

Obverse: Profile of President Franklin D. Roosevelt / “Franklin • Delano • Roosevelt” / “31st President of the United States” / “1933” / “1937” / “Nance • Garner • Vice • President”

Reverse: Ship of State / “Thou Too Sail On O Ship of State Sail On O Union Strong and Great”

Edgemark: N/A

Size: 76mm

Designer: Paul Manship

Medallist: Medallic Art Company (die manufacture) / United States Mint (striking)

Mintage: 2 (Gold) / 2 (Silver) / 1500 (Bronze)

  • The 1933 Inaugural Committee resumed the tradition of hosting a grand inaugural celebration, after several successive subdued affairs.
  • However, the onset of the Depression forced the Inaugural Committee to scale back the production of the 1933 Medal – from 2,500 units to only 1,500.  At the time, only 1,000 medals were sold.
  • The Chairman of the Inaugural Committee, Robert Woolley, noted that the bank closures ordered by President Roosevelt resulted in the limited sales of the 1933 Medal.
  • The obverse of the 1933 Medal required 12 strikings to produce its high relief effect.
  • President Roosevelt is described on the obverse as the 31st president.  However, many commentators consider Roosevelt to have been the 32nd president (with Grover Cleveland serving as both the 22nd and 24th presidents).
  • President Roosevelt selected the Ship of State as the motif for the reverse of the 1933 Medal.  In fact, the rendering of the USS Constitution was reproduced from a print in Roosevelt’s personal collection of naval art.
  • The lines of poetry on the reverse are drawn from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Building of the Ship” and were chosen for inclusion on the medal by President Roosevelt.

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