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Image of Roosevelt Inaugural Medal, 1905
 
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Materials: Bronze
Measurement: Dia. 74 mm, Wt. 130.868 g
Source: Unknown
Note: Tiffany & Co. on the edge
 


Roosevelt Inaugural Medal, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt met sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in the 1890s, when T.R. was an aspiring young politician, and Saint-Gaudens was establishing a reputation as a brilliant artist. When Roosevelt was elected President in 1904 and needed an inaugural medal, he gave the commission to Saint-Gaudens after rejecting the standard, unmemorable medal typically produced for this occasion by the United States Mint.

Saint-Gaudens’s results shattered precedent. The piece was modern in all senses of the word. There was no attempt to beautify or romanticize the President’s head on the obverse, yet the image clearly conveyed vision and power. The reverse was, if anything, even more groundbreaking. The magnificent, left-facing eagle epitomized authority and presence, while displaying a classical ancient style. (The same eagle is used on the Saint-Gaudens $10 in 1907). This bird unquestionably ruled all it surveyed.

Saint-Gaudens’s success with this medal convinced Roosevelt that the artist was the partner he needed to collaborate on a pet project: the redesign of America’s money. Saint-Gaudens signed on, and the plotting began. But the potential for trouble hovered on the horizon: this medal had been struck, not by the United States Mint in Philadelphia, but by Tiffany & Company in New York. If the Mint hadn’t produced Saint-Gaudens’s medal, would it agree to produce any of his coins?
 
Related Events
1901: Theodore Roosevelt takes office when President William McKinley dies.
1902: Congress authorizes building of the Panama Canal.
1904: Theodore Roosevelt elected president in his own right.
1907: Roosevelt sends a "Great White Fleet" of 16 battleships around the world to showcase American power.
1907: The stock market crashes and depositors make a run on banks in the Panic of 1907.
 
Legendary Beauties The following objects are in this section.
Ancient Greek Silver Coin (Dekadrachm), about 400 B.C.E.United States, 20 Dollars, 1906 (Pattern)United States 10 Dollars, 1907 (Pattern)
Roosevelt Inaugural Medal, 1905United States, 20 Dollars, 1907United States, 10 Dollars, 1908
United States, 20 Dollars, 1907 (Pattern)United States, 20 Dollars, 1907 
United States, 20 Dollars, 1907 (Experimental)United States. 20 Dollars, 1908 (Matte Proof) 
 
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