Benjamin Harrison (1889)

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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 Benjamin Harrison / Profile of Vice President Levi Morton / 1889 / Harrison Morton on Scroll / Union Shield

Reverse: Three-quarter Portrait of George Washington / 1789

Edgemark: None

Badge: “Centennial Inaugural”

Ribbon: Red White and Blue Stripes / Committee Designation / Reverse Stamped “WM. Friederich, Manufacturer, Washington, D.C. Feb. 1889 (No Stamp on Inaugural)

Size: 38mm

Designer: Staff

Medallist: William Friederich Company

Mintage: 1 (Gold) / Unknown (Silver-plated or Bronze) / 1,600 (White Metal)

  • The Official 1889 Badge commemorates the 100th Anniversary of Washington’s First Inauguration.
  • Although inaugural badges had been produced in prior years (notably in 1881 and 1885), the Official 1889 Badge marks a formalization of the souvenir.
  • The Chairman of the 1889 Inaugural Committee, Alexander Britton, appointed an eleven-man commission to oversee the production of suitable inaugural badges.
  • The mandate of the committee was, in their words: “to obtain a badge to designate the members of the various committees, which should be original, of artistic design, and embracing features that would properly typify the occasion.”
  • Several badges were commissioned.  However, the Official 1889 Badge pictured here by Wm. Friederich Company, is the only with a direct link to the Inaugural Committee.
  • The 1889 Badge features a yellow silk ribbon designating the original recipient’s committee assignment (e.g. “Public Comfort” or “Civic” or “Floor”).
  • Several different versions of the 1889 Badge were struck — some in white metal, some in bronze and some in silvered metal.
  • The Committee ordered and distributed the 1889 Badges for both the inauguration of President Harrison and the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the First Inauguration.  The latter does not carry the cross-ribbon showing the committee assignment and is stamped with the company’s name.
  • Interestingly, the badges sold for the 100th Anniversary featured Washington’s portrait as the obverse and the Harrison portrait as the reverse.
  • This medal was also sold hanging from a clasp surmounted by an eagle.

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