This medal was one of a series that Salvador Dali did to raise funds for the US Olympic Committee in 1988. These seem to be restrikes of a larger set that he did in 1984. They were minted in silver and gold – this one came from a set of 5 medals in silver.
The obverse shows a diver with his (?) arms outstretched and legs pressed together as his fingers splash into the water. There are 3 other swimmers in the pool, all shown with unusual blocks for heads. The pool appears to be in a desert (there’s a cactus in the top right corner) and there are concentric rings radiating out from the figure in the center of the water (the rings don’t show up very well in this scan, but are pronounced on the high relief medal). Dali’s signature is at approximately 10:00, on the bank of the swimming pool.
The reverse shows the 5 Olympic rings, topped by the letters USA. The rings are circled by a wreath, interrupted by the date at 9:00 and 3:00 “19” and “88”. The legend reads “United States / Olympic Committee” from 10:00 to 2:00 and 6:00 to 3:00.
Identification code: None that I’m aware of: if you know of a reference book that includes this medal, please leave me a note in the comments.
Mint Mark: n/a
Mintage: 25,000 sets
Country of origin: United States of America
Composition: 99.9% Silver (0.999 fine)
Size: 30 mm
Weight: 0.50 ounces (0.49999999999999999999 oz ASW)
Other details: The 1988 Olympics was the last Olympics before the rules barring professional athletes were drastically reduced.
Each medal in this set showed an Olympic event, including Equestrian (presumably this included all 3 horse riding events: Dressage, Eventing, and Show Jumping), Archery (there were 4 different archery events/divisions), Pole Vaulting (which could also portray a particularly terrible example of a failed Javelin Throw), Swimming (events included synchronized swimming, and 50m/100m/200m/400m/1500m freestyle, breast stroke, backstroke, butterfly, individual medly, and relay), and Skiing (which could represent Alpine Skiing, Nordic Combined, Cross-Country Skiing, Biathlon, or Ski Jumping).
Strangely enough, one of the medals in this series identifies the medals as being issued to commemorate the ‘US – Canadian Friendship’ and notes that the games being celebrated were the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics (the XXIV Olympiad). That medal (the Skiing Medal) is the only one that commemorates a winter Olympics event. The other 4 events are all summer sports, which would have been on display at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
Estimated Value: $50-60 with silver at $42/oz (these are worth a good fraction above melt value). A similar set (complete with packaging) sold for $188 recently on eBay.