This sterling silver medal is from the Longines Symphonette Historical Events Medal Series. It shows Thomas Edison’s laboratory in Menlo Park. Edison’s invention of the light bulb was a world changing event, and it’s amazing to think about all of the different components he had to envision, design, and implement to make it work. Did you know that the first light bulb filaments were made out of treated bamboo? That was one of the thousands of different materials he experimented with.
The reverse is covered in boring font, apparently written in loud, all-capital letters. The inscription reads “In addition to the electric lamp the unique genius of Thomas Alva Edison bequeathed to mankind the electric railroad, the phonograph, motion pictures, and many other marvelous inventions.” Below that, there’s a dyspeptic eagle at 6:00 on the medal.
Identification code: unknown
Mint Mark: n/a
Mintage: 5,000 (this one is from set P #4,224, which is stamped on the edge)
Country of origin: United States of America
Composition: Sterling Silver (92.5% silver)
Size: 39 mm – it is slightly larger than a Morgan silver dollar, but this is not a coin.
Weight: 34 grams (1.109 ounces of ASW)
Other details: Longines is a watchmaker that sponsored a classical orchestra radio show in the 1940s called the Longines Symphonette. There were several different collections of silver medals made in the 1970’s to cross-promote the radio show and the Longines watch brand – this collection was produced along with Wittnauer Precious Metals Guild.
This medal comes from the Great American Triumphs series of 60 medals. These were sold in complete sets, or in little red boxes that held two medals each. The boxes were labeled “The Wittnauer Precious Metal Guild / Symphonette Square, Larchmont, N.Y. 10538 / Makers of Fine Medallic Art”.
These medals were produced in 92.5% silver and 99.99% silver. The edge of each medal is labeled with the composition (inscribed after “Longines Symphonette”). This one is labeled “Sterling”.
I recently purchased 48 of these medals, but have compiled a list of the full set with links to the medals that I own:
1811-1825: Overland Trail (one that I do not have)
1819-1892: Walt Whitman (one that I do not have)
1846: Fifty-Four Forty or Fight (one that I do not have)
1851: “Go West, Young Man” (one that I do not have)
(undated: 1961-1909): Frederic Remington (one that I do not have)
1863: The Flight of the Nez Perce (one that I do not have)
1876: Little Big Horn (one that I do not have – and, well, I guess it was a ‘Great American Triumph’ for the Native Americans)
1879-1955: Albert Einstein (one that I do not have)
1895-1972: J. Edgar Hoover (one that I do not have)
1898-1961: Ernest Hemingway (one that I do not have)
(undated: 1899): Log Float (one that I do not have)
1927: Lindbergh Flies the Atlantic (one that I do not have)
1929-1968: Reverend Martin Luther King (one that I do not have)
1945: V.J. Day (one that I do not have)
1961: Kennedy’s Inauguration (one that I do not have)
1976: 2 Centuries of Liberty, Peace, and Progress (one that I do not have)
Estimated Value: Approximately $45-55 with silver at $42/ounce