Lewis and Clark Exposition, Trantow item 15

This page of my Lewis and Clark Exposition collection looks only at the two and one half inch across award medal. This medal was used as the award piece for items exhibited in contests at the exposition. Many plain bronze (uninscribed) examples of this medal exist. Much rarer are pieces that have engraving on the back side of the medal, describing what item was being given an award. Awards came in gold, silver and bronze levels, and the awarded token would be either gilt bronze, silver plated bronze, or plain bronze. Unawarded and unengraved pieces are very common, and will sell for perhaps $30 to $60, depending on condition. These large medals very often exhibit rim bruises or carbon spots. Nicer pieces are harder to find.

Much harder to find are pieces that come in the original box, or that are engraved. Gilt or silver plated pieces also command a premium price. Any of these factors will more than double the value!

I have two examples of the plain bronze medal, Trantow 15a. Trantow 15b is silver plated bronze, and Trantow 15c is gilt bronze.
Here are the obverses of 15a:

Here are the reverses of 15a:

Here is a picture of the original box the medal was issued in:

And here is a medal inside the box:

Here is a look inside the lid of another box, with an insert explaining a little bit about the award medals:

Here is a picture of an awarded medal with its box:

Here is the wreath side with engraving:

Here is another engraved piece:

And another:

And another:

A closeup of the above engraving:

One more engraved piece:

The first initial is debatable, but I read this as engraved D. A. Johnson / Oats:

Another piece, courtesy of collector Vic Milam. Vic Milam reports that T. J. Munkers was a farmer and the mayor of Scio, Oregon. The engraving reads T. J. Munkers / White Winter Wheat:

A closeup of the engraving:

At the Johnson Victrola Museum, in Delaware, there is a Lewis and Clark award medal on display: Go to the museum website

Images of the awarded medals often found their way into advertising. For example, collectors of old beer cans might have a "Storz Fine Lager" can that has the award medal pictured on the can. Similarly, this envelop from the Malleable Iron Range Co. has an image of their award medal on it:

I have not yet found if there is a listing of the awards presented during the exposition, but if there is such a list, it would be interesting to try and find out more about the items described in the engravings on these very rare pieces.

Go to the main Lewis and Clark Collection page