100529 | UNITED STATES. Centennial black walnut Medal.
100529 | UNITED STATES. Black Walnut Medal. Issued 1876. For the International Exhibition/United States Centennial in Philadelphia (76mm, 22.88 g, 1h). By the Ornamental Wood Co.
1776 MEMORIAL HALL 1876 / INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION, façade of the Memorial Hall, with elaborate foreground / THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE / U.S. AMERICA, 4TH OF JULY 1876 / EXHIBITION OPEN / FROM / MAY 10 TO NOV 10 1876 / FAIRMOUNT PARK / PHILADELPHIA in six lines. Edge: Some expected stress marks, but otherwise plain.
Holland LXVII; Spangenberger 1876-10; Abler 1650bw. As Made. Attractive chestnut brown surfaces on the obverse, with a lighter feel to the reverse. Immense obverse relief and highly interesting.
Part of a series of 22 medals and plaques produced for the centennial celebration of the United States, these pieces feature the unusual composition of not metal, but of wood. How is it possible that a medal can be 'struck' out of wood? The Philadelphia Ornamental Wood Company steamed the round and square 'planchets,' softening the wood. The blanks were then placed between dies and squeezed under great pressure. The softening allowed the process to occur with much less risk of the wood cracking, though the resulting sizes and thicknesses can vary due to moisture content and storage conditions.