Longines Symphonette Medal – The First Flight Wright Brothers Medal

This sterling silver medal is from the Longines Symphonette Great American Events Medal Series. It shows the Wright Flyer biplane lifting off into the air for the first time in 1903. The plane is shown rising off of the skids into a cloudy sky and flying straight at some seagulls. Some of the ground crew are visible, just as they were in the iconic photo of the day.

The First Flight Silver Medal Featuring the Wright Brothers Flyer at Kitty Hawk Obverse

The First Flight Silver Medal Featuring the Wright Brothers Flyer at Kitty Hawk Obverse

The reverse is covered in boring font, apparently written by someone who was unaware that their caps lock key was on. It reads “December 17, 1903 Near Kitty Hawk, N.C. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first controlled, sustained flights in a power-driven airplane. The longest of the four flights covered 852 feet in 59 seconds.” Below that, there’s an angry looking eagle at 6:00 on the medal, with its wings spread out and an olive branch in its talons.

The First Flight Silver Medal Featuring the Wright Brothers Flyer at Kitty Hawk Reverse

The First Flight Silver Medal Featuring the Wright Brothers Flyer at Kitty Hawk Reverse

Identification code: unknown

Date: 1972

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:

1775: Battle of Concord Bridge

(1775 – no date): Patrick Henry: “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death” Speech

1775: Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride

1775: Founding Of Boonesborough, Kentucky

1776: Declaration Of Independence

1776: Betsy Ross

1783: Washington’s Farewell

1785-1851: James Audubon

1779: John Paul Jones – I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight

1794: Eli Whitney And His Cotton Gin

1803: Lewis & Clark Expedition

1807: Fulton’s Folly

1811-1825: Overland Trail (one that I do not have)

1812: Old Ironsides

1814: Star Spangled Banner Francis Scott Key

1815: Battle Of New Orleans

1819-1892: Walt Whitman (one that I do not have)

1835-1910: Mark Twain

1836: The Alamo

1836: Samuel B. Morse, Telegraph

1846: Fifty-Four Forty or Fight (one that I do not have)

1847: Brigham Young

1848: Gold At Sutter’s Mill

1851: Clipper Ship Flying Cloud

1851: “Go West, Young Man” (one that I do not have)

1860: Pony Express

(undated: 1961-1909): Frederic Remington (one that I do not have)

1862: Robert E. Lee

1863: Gettysburg Address

1863: The Flight of the Nez Perce (one that I do not have)

1869: Transcontinental Railroad

1872: National Parks Yellowstone

1876: Telephone – AG Bell

1876: Little Big Horn (one that I do not have – and, well, I guess it was a ‘Great American Triumph’ for the Native Americans)

1879-1935: Will Rogers

1879-1955: Albert Einstein (one that I do not have)

1886: Statue Of Liberty

1886: Samuel Gompers – AFL

1895-1948: Babe Ruth

1895-1972: J. Edgar Hoover (one that I do not have)

1898: Battle Of San Juan Hill

1898-1937: George Gershwin

1898-1961: Ernest Hemingway (one that I do not have)

(undated: 1899): Log Float (one that I do not have)

1901: Walter Reed

1909: Model T Ford

1903: The First Flight

1904: Panama Canal

1909: Perry Finds North Pole

1918: The Doughboys

1920: Women’s Suffrage

1927: Lindbergh Flies the Atlantic (one that I do not have)

1929-1968: Reverend Martin Luther King (one that I do not have)

1931-1933: The Macon & Akron

1933: Inauguration Of President Roosevelt

1935: Flight of the China Clipper Seaplane

1941: Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms

1945: V.J. Day (one that I do not have)

1954: Salk Polio Vaccine

1959: Dawn Of The Jet Age

1961: Kennedy’s Inauguration (one that I do not have)

1909: Purchase Of Alaska

1976: 2 Centuries of Liberty, Peace, and Progress (one that I do not have)

Estimated Value: Approximately $45-55 with silver at $42/ounce

3 responses to “Longines Symphonette Medal – The First Flight Wright Brothers Medal

  1. Keith Kieffer

    Please advise if your Longines Symphonette Medal ā€“ The First Flight Wright Brothers Medal is for sale and if yes advise price and availability.

    Thank you

    Keith

  2. I was planning on keeping this as a companion piece for my other flight related coins and medals. But, sure, why not? With the run up in silver prices, I’m happy to sell it. I’ll send you an e-mail with details.

  3. What fun to see my work on the internet. I was a copywriter with the Longines Symphonette Society in 1972. I wrote all the advertising for the 60 Great American Triumphs series to which your Wright Brothers medal belongs.
    The medal’s designer was Joseph DeLorenzo. Medals were produced by the Medalic Arts Company of Rochester, New York. By 1972, the Longines Symphonette had long vanished from the radio, but the Longines Symphonette Society continued on as a mail order company specializing in recorded music. 60 Great American triumphs was a great success and encouraged more like it to come.

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