National Numismatic CollectionOnline Exhibitions
Where Money and History Meet
Learn more about the National Numismatic Collection (NNC) through online exhibitions about topics such as: Byzantium; the coinage of Spain; he Double Eagle; life in Ancient Greece; the Coins of the Demareteion Master; outstanding U.S. rarities; Russian coins and medals; Native Americans, women, and African–Americans on early United States bank notes; and the evolution of American money.
Legendary Coins & Currency
This exhibition explores rare and historically significant artifacts from the National Numismatic Collection—more than half of which have never been on view, or not for many years. Coins, bills, medals, and captivating oddities—such as pattern designs, fake coins, and homemade clam shell money from the Great Depression—are on display.
"National Numismatic Collection - Online Exhibitions" showing 1 items.
- Theodore Roosevelt met sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in the 1890s, when T.R. was an aspiring young politician, and Saint-Gaudens was establishing a reputation as a brilliant artist. When Roosevelt was elected President in 1904 and needed an inaugural medal, he gave the commission to Saint-Gaudens after rejecting the standard, unmemorable medal typically produced for this occasion by the United States Mint.
- Saint-Gaudens's results shattered precedent. The piece was modern in all senses of the word. There was no attempt to beautify or romanticize the President's head on the obverse, yet the image clearly conveyed vision and power. The reverse was, if anything, even more groundbreaking. The magnificent, left-facing eagle epitomized authority and presence, while displaying a classical ancient style. (The same eagle is used on the Saint-Gaudens $10 in 1907). This bird unquestionably ruled all it surveyed.
- Saint-Gaudens's success with this medal convinced Roosevelt that the artist was the partner he needed to collaborate on a pet project: the redesign of America's money. Saint-Gaudens signed on, and the plotting began. But the potential for trouble hovered on the horizon: this medal had been struck, not by the United States Mint in Philadelphia, but by Tiffany & Company in New York. If the Mint hadn't produced Saint-Gaudens's medal, would it agree to produce any of his coins?
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- associated date
- associated person
- Roosevelt, Theodore
- Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
- Weinman, Adolph A.
- Tiffany & Company
- Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center