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Medallic Art Co. Struck a series of proof medals commemorating the California missions in the 1960s. The were struck in bronze and silver, brilliant proof, high relief medals. Some may also have been struck in gold, but I have not seen a reference to an actual gold example of any of the medals. Each carries a serial number on the edge. I have bid on silver examples from time to time, but never seriously. I recently had the opportunity to acquire four of the medals in bronze for $5 each. Now I'm on a quest to complete the series, but I do not know for sure how many different medals were issued, although I have found one auction reference to a set of 11 such medals. The lot description stated that the cataloger did not know if the series was ever finished.

 

They follow:

 

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Santa Barbara

 

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San Fernando Rey

 

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San Luis Rey

 

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San Rafael

 

The obverse shows an image of the mission and the reverse shows an image of the saint for which the mission was named.

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I will have to find some silver medals I have that were my grandmothers. They have Fra. Junipero Serra on them and they were apparently minted with authorisation of the US Congress. He founded many of the California missions, and I think my grandmother may have bought these medals that were minted in 1963 at one of the missions somewhere during that time.

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I wonder if we have any TAMS members here. They'd probably have a good feel for the sources of information on items such as the Mission Medal series.

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I wonder if we have any TAMS members here. They'd probably have a good feel for the sources of information on items such as the Mission Medal series.

 

I'm a TAMS member. I've not yet come across an ad for the series in old publications, although I suspect they must be out there somewhere. Heritage had a set of 11 medals, one set in bronze and one set in silver, with the serial numbers around 1460 (mine are in the 640 range). Their catalog description stated that they did not know if the set was ever completed (there were 21 missions) and they attributed them to the 1960s. I've seen a number of Santa Barbara medals and that mission remains popular with many tourists. If they were sold in mission gift shops as well as by subscription, then I would expect Santa Barbara to be common. If they were only sold as numbered sets (such as by subscription), then I might expect them to be equally scarce or common.

 

In any event, they are beautiful examples of the medallic arts.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Junipero Serra medal showing the California Mission Trail. The medal is serially numbered on the edge with a NY mark, but it does not say Medallic Art. The artist is the same as the other medals, so I believe this is part of or related to the series.

 

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  • 1 month later...

I wasn't going to pursue this series in silver as I didn't want to pay the price they normally bring, but I decided to pick them up if reasonable. The one pictured here was reasonable and I figured I needed to have one monster toned silver piece in my collection. A challenge to photograph, but this captures some of what it feels like in hand:

 

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The cotton liner and medals notes are missing from the box. A paper towel was folded up and placed in the box to keep the medal secure. I'm assuming it is the source of the toning. Its since been replaced with an appropriate archival sleeve.

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  • 1 month later...

Two new medals in bronze:

 

Mission San Jose

 

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Mission San Gabriel

 

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Each reverse features an artifact that distinguishes the mission. The San Gabriel piece shows on panel in the stations of the cross painted by the Indian neophytes.

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Fascinating image of the bells. I've never seen bells like that. It makes sense to have several small bells. I can imagine the cost of manufacturing or shipping of a "real size" church bell is prohibitive for small frontier missions.

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Great medals. How many of the mission series are you still looking for?

 

There are 21 missions and I know at least 11 different medals were struck, but it is possible there are 21 total. I have 7 different so far.

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There are 21 missions and I know at least 11 different medals were struck, but it is possible there are 21 total. I have 7 different so far.

Hi, I have been trying to collect all 21 missions in bronze as well as silver. I have many duplicates in both bronze and silver. I would like to trade for those I do not already have. I too am not sure if they finished the series as I have had problems obtaining the ones I am missing

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Hi, I have been trying to collect all 21 missions in bronze as well as silver. I have many duplicates in both bronze and silver. I would like to trade for those I do not already have. I too am not sure if they finished the series as I have had problems obtaining the ones I am missing

 

Welcome Mark. I look forward to corresponding with you about the medal series. Trading is a great idea after you have fulfilled the time (30 days) and post requirements (25) for the site. That helps everyone assure themselves that they are corresponding with a serious collector. It doesn't take long and we've got some great converstions going.

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  • 5 months later...

Hello all. New to the group. Find this site while looking for more info on California Mission Medals. I have the Book/Folder Holder for these medals as well as the following in the book;

Fray Junipero Serra, San Juan Capistrano, San Antonio De Padua, San Gabriel, San Luis Obispo, San Luis Del Rey, Mission San Buensventura, Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Fernando, San Luis Rey, San Miguel, and San Rafael.

 

I collect all types of coins and paper but mostly silver (i.e. Morgans/Peace/Walkers etc). I belong to many associations as well. It was a great find this site to add to contacts for info as well. Looking forward to making many posts for the same. TY

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Hello all. New to the group. Find this site while looking for more info on California Mission Medals. I have the Book/Folder Holder for these medals as well as the following in the book;

Fray Junipero Serra, San Juan Capistrano, San Antonio De Padua, San Gabriel, San Luis Obispo, San Luis Del Rey, Mission San Buensventura, Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Fernando, San Luis Rey, San Miguel, and San Rafael.

 

I collect all types of coins and paper but mostly silver (i.e. Morgans/Peace/Walkers etc). I belong to many associations as well. It was a great find this site to add to contacts for info as well. Looking forward to making many posts for the same. TY

 

I suspect that San Luis Rey and San Luis Del Rey in your list are one and the same. I have a book with the same 12 medals as you list (not counting your san luis del rey). I suspect those were the only 12 medals issued and the others were not issued (even though the book has spaces for them). I would love to confirm that.

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  • 4 months later...

There were 21 medals struck by The Medallic Art Company (MACO) in Bronze and Silver from 1961 to 1974. 2,500 bronze medals struck, each, with the exception of mission La Purisima Concepcion (500) and Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soldad (1,000) On the silver, 1,000 medals each were struck with the exception of Mission La Purisima Concepcion (250)and Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad (500).

 

The 22nd California Mission, Santa Gertrudis, never had a medal made as it was a "lost" mission and it's artifacts were found buried under a bean field while building the freeway between Ventura and Ojai in 1965-1966

 

Father Junipero Serra's medal was not part of the original set and was struck Philadelphia Mint 1964. It was Serra's 250 Anniversary year. There were 25ea in Platinum or proof finish, 10,000 ea of .999 silver, and in 1964 2,000ea in bronze.

 

El Dorado Mint also made .999 Silver Bars for the 21 missions.

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There were 21 medals struck by The Medallic Art Company (MACO) in Bronze and Silver from 1961 to 1974. 2,500 bronze medals struck, each, with the exception of mission La Purisima Concepcion (500) and Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soldad (1,000) On the silver, 1,000 medals each were struck with the exception of Mission La Purisima Concepcion (250)and Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad (500).

 

The 22nd California Mission, Santa Gertrudis, never had a medal made as it was a "lost" mission and it's artifacts were found buried under a bean field while building the freeway between Ventura and Ojai in 1965-1966

 

Father Junipero Serra's medal was not part of the original set and was struck Philadelphia Mint 1964. It was Serra's 250 Anniversary year. There were 25ea in Platinum or proof finish, 10,000 ea of .999 silver, and in 1964 2,000ea in bronze.

 

El Dorado Mint also made .999 Silver Bars for the 21 missions.

 

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this info with us. :bthumbsup:

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