1988 Dali Medal – US Olympic Committee Official Medal – Equestrian

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 silver Olympic medals.

The obverse of this medal shows a jockey riding an angular, bony horse as it leaps over a hurdle. That horse really needs to take a break and eat something – I’ve seen depictions of Death riding a healthier looking nag. There are a few scattered tufts of grass that look about as appetizing as barbed wire, but the scene seems pretty barren and desolate. Dali’s signature is under the hurdle.

Medal - 1988 Dali US Olympic Committee Equestrian Obverse

Medal - 1988 Dali US Olympic Committee Equestrian Obverse

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.

Medal - 1988 Dali US Olympic Committee Equestrian Reverse

Medal - 1988 Dali US Olympic Committee Equestrian Reverse

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.

Date: 1988

Mint Mark: n/a

Mintage: 25,000

Dali Medal inset - 1988 set

Dali Medal inset - 1988 set

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: This medal was part of a 5-piece silver set. Each medal 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.

Also of interest; the 1988 Olympics was the last Olympics before the rules barring professional athletes were drastically reduced.

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.

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