Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ohio's Mint Condition

Did you know Ohio is home to America's oldest private mint? It's also only 6 miles from my house.
Here's the story.
A few months ago I ran across an item on eBay and ended up purchasing it for about $12.
It's a mint condition 62mm (2 ½ inch), 16-gram (.5 ounce) 1953 brushed aluminum medal commemorating the sesquicentennial of Ohio statehood.
The obverse features the Ohio State Seal surrounded by busts of the eight Ohio US Presidents:
William Henry Harrison (9th), Ulysses S. Grant (18th), Rutherford B. Hayes (19th), James Garfield (20th), Benjamin Harrison (23rd), William McKinley (25th), William Howard Taft (27th), and Warren G. Harding (29th).
The reverse notes the company and location "Osborne Coinage Co. Cin. 25, O." At first, I didn't know what the "25" signified. I discovered that it references the zip code of the company location which would be "Cincinnati Ohio, 45225" in the Camp Washington area.

The medal was struck by the Osborne Coinage Company of Cincinnati, OH which happens to be the oldest private mint in the US and still in operation today. I checked with them but unfortunately, they didn't have any further information on the history of this item, such as how many were made or who specifically it was created for. The early 1950s produced many Ohio Statehood promotional items to gear up for the 150th anniversary. As far as this coin goes, it doesn't show up on eBay much. Another site, which I lost the link to, was selling one and said they'd only seen two of these in twenty years. I don't think it's valuable or anything but I am happy with the price I paid.

Osborne traces its beginning back to 1835 as the Z. Bisbee Co. originally located on 5th Street in downtown Cincinnati a few miles from Osborne's present location in Camp Washington.
During its 181 year history, Osborne produced everything from campaign coins for eight presidents including Lincoln and FDR, food ration tokens in WWII, subway tokens, Alcoholic Anonymous sobriety coins, casino coins, commemorative sports coins, and Chuck E. Cheese tokens. In other words, pretty much anything that was coin-like and wasn't legal tender.

If you need a custom coin, head over to Osborne and tell then Gehio sent you.

related Gehio posts:
Happy 58th Birthday to our 49th State...Ohio!
Ohio Statehood Day!
Ohio History on a Stick

other sources:
1997 LA Times article on the Osborne Coinage Co.