Silver Medal Commemorating the Golden Spike Ceremony & The TransContinental Railroad

This medal is sterling silver and comes from the Longines Symphonette Great American Events Medal Series. It commemorates the Golden Spike Ceremony that joined the first railroad from the west with a railroad from the east. It shows a bare chested mountain main with a sledgehammer driving a spike into a railroad tie, superimposed over a map of the US with a train facing east and a train facing west. Promontory Point is marked on the map with a Paul Bunyan sized spike, and the legend reads “Transcontinental Railroad”.

Silver Medal Commemorating the Golden Spike Ceremony & The Trans Continental Railroad Obverse

Silver Medal Commemorating the Golden Spike Ceremony & The Trans Continental Railroad Obverse

The reverse is covered in boring font, apparently written by someone who was unaware that their caps lock key was on. It reads “The juncture of Union and Central Pacific Railroads at Promontory Point, Utah on May 10, 1869 united by rail the maritime boundaries of the United States.” Below that, there’s a dyspeptic eagle at 6:00 on the medal, with an olive branch in its talons and its wings raised over its body.

Silver Medal Commemorating the Golden Spike Ceremony & The Trans Continental Railroad Reverse

Silver Medal Commemorating the Golden Spike Ceremony & The Trans Continental Railroad 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”.

Did you know that more than one golden spike linked the railroads? There were apparently 4 precious metal spikes (plus a 5th duplicate of the famous golden spike): they included 1 big gold spike, 1 lesser gold one, 1 silver spike, and 1 gold/silver/iron spike. Surely they weren’t left in the railroad ties?

I’m curious, what happened to the other precious metal spikes that were placed at the ceremony joining the Continental Railroad?

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

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