One area of medal issuing is of vital importance to a private mint. It was the centerpiece of Medallic Art’s sales activity for forty years from the time of the Great Depression until the time of the American Bicentennial. Every potential medal customer should be asked a simple question.
That question is: “Do you have any significant anniversaries coming up?”
What a birthday cake is to an individual a medal is to an organization. It can be the centerpiece of any anniversary activity. A well-designed medal can be the emblem, the logo, the symbol of that anniversary. It can dramatically reflect the past and inspire the organization’s thrust into the future.
And it serves as an artistic memento of that important milestone of the organization’s existence. It makes a great gift to everyone associated with that organization – employees, suppliers, clients. Also it exemplifies management’s statement as to the organization’s position and importance to society.
The earlier an organization starts planning its anniversary the better. Normally this is one or two years in advance of the anniversary year. But one example is a textbook case of what can be done. That was for the American Museum of Natural History for their centennial in 1969.
The New York City institution began planning its centennial activities four years in advance! By the time the actual centennial year arrived it had ready a promotional drive from which all the world learned of its existence, its activity, and its accomplishments.
It ordered its medal two years in advance of its anniversary year. Fortunately it had an artist on its staff who was savvy enough to design a medal that captured the essence of the Museum, its holdings, and the delight of its visitors. The medal featured the skeleton of a dinosaur, one of its featured exhibits.
The medal, MACO 1967-48, of course was struck by Medallic Art, also in Manhattan at the time, crosstown and 20 blocks south from the Museum, adjacent to New York’s Central Park and a Mecca for museum goers. Illustrations of the American Museum of Natural History Centennial Medal appeared everywhere. In advertising, on billboards, on giant banners hung outside the museum building, on transit cards in the city’s subways and busses.
The medal image was even imprinted on the napkins served with meals in the museum’s cafeteria! There was no limit to how an attractive medal design can serve as the symbol of an organization’s anniversary celebration. No birthday cake was in sight, but the image of the centennial medal was everywhere.
The prospects for anniversary medals are boundless. Obviously, firms serving the public head the list, the bigger he better. But also nonprofit organizations, trade associations, foundations; colleges and universities actively celebrate their anniversaries with medals.
Perhaps the area of greatest profit, however, is State and City anniversary medals.
The two biggest in Medallic Art’s history were California Bicentennial in 1969 and Illinois Sesquicentennial in 1968. Ronald Reagan was governor of California at the time of the bicentennial. There was a committee in charge of the bicentennial celebration, but the governor was kept informed of the medal progress. He took an interest in the medal and even visited the plant in person on a business trip to New York City.
The Illinois Sesquicentennial was so important, and medal sales were so strong, the firm purchased a press in Germany to strike proof surface medals for that one medal alone. The press was flown to NYC! Imagine those costs! But the profit on that one job alone paid for the press and the shipping expense.
More importantly, the Illinois medal was so successful, the firm ultimately hired the director of the Illinois medal sales, Mal Hoffman, to head up the American Bicentennial sales campaign for that upcoming national event!
But don’t overlook city anniversary medals. A collector in Illinois has a collection of over 15,000 medals of American city, town and municipality anniversary medals! A collector in Kansas is writing a book on the state anniversary medals. These medals have a strong heritage among citizens in their area – and often later, among collectors.
Related to anniversary medals is another area of importance to private mints. That is product milestone. Example: General Motors 50 Millionth Car Medal, MACO 1954-4. The firm even struck medals for individual GM divisions.
So every salesman should inquire, not only about upcoming anniversaries, but also these questions:
“What is your organization’s founding date?”
“When was your oldest product first started?
To give some sense of anniversary celebrations – in effect any year can be celebrated – here is a list of the names for significant anniversaries:
- 1st – Anniversary
- 2nd – Biennial
- 3rd – Triennial, Triennium
- 4th – Quadrennial
- 5th – Quinquennial
- 6th – Sextennial, Sexennial
- 7th – Septennial
- 8th – Octennial
- 9th – Novennial
- 10th – Decennial
- 11th – Undecennial, Undecennary
- 12th – Duodecennial
- 13th – Tridecennial
- 14th – Quadridecennial
- 15th – Quindecennial
- 16th – Sextdecennial
- 17th – Septdecennial
- 18th – Octodecennial
- 19th – Novedecennial
- 20th – Vicennial
- 21st – Unicennial
- 22nd – Duovicennial
- 23rd – Trivicennial
- 24th – Quadrivicennial
- 25th – Quinvicennial, Silver Jubilee, Semi Jubilee
- 26th – Sextevicennial
- 27th – Septevicennial
- 28th – Octovicennial
- 29th – Novevicennial
- 30th – Tricennial
- 31st – Untricennial
- 32nd – Duotricennial
- 33rd – Tertricennial
- 34th – Quadritricennial
- 35th – Quintricennial
- 36th – Sextetricennial
- 37th – Septetricennial
- 38th – Octotricennial
- 39th – Novetricennial
- 40th – Quadricennial
- 45th – Quinquadricennial
- 50th – Quinquecennial, Semicentennial,Semicentenary, Jubilee, Golden Jubilee
- 60th – Sextecennial, Diamond Anniversary
- 70th – Septecennial
- 75th – Quinseptecennial, Diamond Jubilee
- 80th – Octocennial
- 90th – Novecennial
- 100th – Centennial, Centenary
- 125th – Quasquicentennial
- 150th – Sesquicentennial
- 200th – Bicentennial, Bicentenary
- 250th – Semiquinquecentennial
- 300th – Tricentennial, Tercentenary
- 350th – Semiseptecentennial
- 400th – Quadricentennial
- 500th – Quincentennial, Semimillennium
- 600th – Sextecentennial
- 700th – Septecemtennial, Septcentennary
- 800th – Octocentennial
- 900th – Novecentennial
- 1000th – Millennium, Millenniary, Millennial
- 1500th – Sesquimillennium
- 2000th – Bimillenary