This Brilliant Uncirculated medal is from a 5 medallion 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 – 1,000 in gold, and 25,000 in silver bullion.
The obverse shows a skier who looks almost like a rocking horse on curved skis. Both arms are thrust forward, tugging at ski poles that look almost like chains holding the skier back as he strains his muscles to break free. In the foreground, a hand is holding up a handkerchief, presumably to start the race. Or, it might be the French judge, offering to surrender. I’m not sure which is more probable.
Dali’s signature is atop the snow at 7:00.
The reverse shows a different pattern from the other 4 coins in the set. It is divided into 3 registers: writing in a ring around the rim of the coin, a message on the left half of the coin, and a separate message on the right half. The rim register reads from roughly 6:30 to 2:30 “XV Winter Olympiad Calgary Canada 1988”. The rest of the register is filled with 5 Maple leafs, followed by 5 5-sided stars, and another 5 Maple leaves.
The left half of the medal has “USA” above 5 Olympic rings, over the legend “Saluting / The US – / Canadian / Friend – / Ship”. The right register has a stylized snowflake above 5 interwoven Olympic rings and the legend “Calgary ’88”.
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 set 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.