GGIE-Exceptionally Rare Gem BU GGIE Award/Commemorative Medal for Participants #1314
This is like the highly collectible Olympic Games Participation/Participant Medals, which can be afforded (but they’re not cheap) as compared to the seldom obtainable actual Olympic gold, silver or bronze medals which rarely come to market and you’d better be prepared to write a five-figure check to get one. Awarded to a PARTICIPANT in the fair which is a bit tougher to identify than someone at the Olympics where we knew it was staff or athlete or perhaps volunteers.
Likewise this award was given to a limited number of individuals who were important to the progress of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.
I saw (but did not own) one other example of this medal years ago. This example is gorgeously well preserved; it was very well struck and all of the minute detail is razor sharp and the Mint State and color are very exciting.
One side is the seal of the state seen on many different medals. Of all those I have seen this is most assuredly one of the finest strikes. I’ve never seen this kind of detail on the ships and various lines of detail; perhaps the actual die was more precise than others, not just the strike. Around the perimeter it reads not just “Golden Gate International Exposition” but also “California Commission.” The only visible flaw to the eye is a small dark spot at about 7-8:00.
The less interesting side (sorry Governor!) has the bust of the then governor of the state. Again, one of the favorite points of study in grading coins and medals featuring busts of people is the hair. Governor Olson’s hair is incredibly sharp and each strand looks razor cut. The most important bit of type on this medal runs around the perimeter of this side: “Participants Commemorative Medal from the State of California.” I have no idea how many may have been struck and presented but I do know they’re rarely if ever found. I suspect whenever one turns up it will be from a “Fresh” estate where the recipient’s family kept it safely tucked away for many years as was probably the origin of this one, as well.