Peter Jones submitted this background on the Carnegie Hero Medal. Thanks!
In last week's E-Sylum you showed a picture of one of Holabird's lots, the Carnegie Hero Medal. I would like to show the medal in more detail.
In 1864, the up-and-coming Andrew Carnegie invested $40,000 in Storey Farm, an amazingly successful steel factory. He adapted the Bessemer process using mass production and low wages to drive down prices. He vertically integrated with suppliers, and in 1883, bought the rival Homestead Steel Works. Despite black marks like the Johnstown flood and the Homestead Plant Strike, Carnegie sold his steelworks to master financier J.P. Morgan in 1901 for $480 million, of which Carnegie personally got $225 million. US Steel was the first billion dollar company.
Morgan paid him with 2,250 5% 50-year $100,000 gold bonds (see attached photo). The interest alone was $11.25 million a year! Carnegie's Hudson Trust company in Hoboken, NJ, had to build a special vault to house his bonds!
Previously rapacious, Carnegie changed. Instead of being a driven businessman, he became a driven benefactor. He spent $350 million on charities until he died in 1919. He gave particularly to libraries, universities, and educational institutions.
He also established the Carnegie hero fund to reward bravery.
I show a picture of an unawarded medal. A reverse cartouche allowed an insert in the die to produce details of the hero. This example shows the cartouche blank.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
HOLABIRD JULY 2022 SALE SELECTIONS : Lot 3317: 1905 Carnegie Hero Medal
THE BOOK BAZARRE
A PENNY SAVED,
Kenneth Bressett's memoir of
R.S. Yeoman and His Remarkable Red Book,
also tells the history of Whitman Publishing as well as his own unique life story in and out of numismatics. Enjoy more than 100 years of fascinating numismatic history in 352 richly illustrated pages, 8.5 x 11 inches, hardcover. Order your copy online
, or call 1-800-546-2995.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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