Friday, January 31, 2014

The Panama Canal Completion Medal

Many people have never seen or even heard of the Panama Canal Completion Medal and I thought it was time to bring it into the spotlight.  It was an important part of the opening of the Panama Canal.

The Panama Canal Completion medal was carried onboard the Panama Railroad Steamship SS Cristobal during the unofficial first ocean-to-ocean crossing of the canal.  This test trip occurred on August 3,1914 and a total of 50,000 serial numbered medals were carried onboard the SS Cristobal as it crossed the Panama Canal for the first time. 

The medals were copyrighted in 1913 by J. F. Newman and signed by Geo W. Goethals, Chief Engineer of the Panama Canal.   Many of the medals were distributed to government, industry and religious leaders around the world, and a number were given to members of the press who were covering the canal's opening. The entire mintage was not distributed, but it is known that some of them were sold to tourist as they passed through the canal in the early days.
The official first ceremonial crossing of the canal was on August 15, 1914 and was completed by the SS Ancon, the sister ship of the SS Cristobal. The Ancon trip carried government officials, foreign diplomats, assorted invited VIPs and members of the press.  Many of the medals were passed out to the dignitaries at this time.
The medal measures 1 1/2 inches across.  So-Called Dollars lists the medal with the classification HK398 and calls the medal quite scarce. 



Article by Cheryl from  AVintageStore

1 comment:

  1. Very very interesting article ! I learned a lot ! Thanks ! Sophie