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1962 Century 21 Seattle World's Fair

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I believe the monorail first ride piece is 32mm and therefore not a so-called dollar. It is however a rare transportation and fair related piece. I have never owned one, so if you measure yours and it is indeed 33mm or larger, that is something we should know.

Attached are some photos of a well known Whitman album of so-called dollars that relate to the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (held 21 Apr - 21 Oct 1962). Owning this album is a reasonable way to get into owning some of the so-called dollars related to the fair. The smaller silver medal was produced by the US Mint (national commemorative medal) while the larger set of 8 medals (0.999 fine silver, 38mm) were produced by Metal Arts Co (not the same as medallic arts co per Bill H) of Rochester NY. A nice summary of the fair can be found at:

Author D.E. Birdsell published a 1981 second edition book on K3 tokens. I honestly don't collect these (some can be very expensive), but I did buy a copy of the book so I know what they are if I ever run across them. Attached is Birdsell's glossary. edited by rjesinger on 1/15/2013

I have not yet written the chapter for Seattle as yet, but I can share our list of pieces included at present. The "book" sets as Bob pictured here included the mint medal and the Metal Arts Co. medals were issued in bronze, silver, and gold. The Metal Arts medals are stamped on the edge and the silver medal indicates its fineness (.999). The Space Needle medal was also struck in a lower fineness silver. It appears to be silver, but the edge mark only indicates Metal Arts, it does not include a silver fineness. The Space Needle medals were sold separately and I believe that explains the lower silver content piece. It was also sold gold-plated. I have in my collection a bronze uniface piece struck with just the reverse die. I also have a $1,000,000 high relief piece that appears to be two half pieces stuck together. It is too thin and has a seam around the entire piece. It is definitely die struck from the original dies and appears to be silver, but I do not think it is. It weighs 24.72 grams whereas the .999 Fine silver pieces weight 29.83 gm. The lower fineness silver pieces weigh 25.45 gm. I have no explanation for this piece and it will be included as an anomaly. In addition to the Metal Arts set, three of the designs were also struck in a low relief brass version. They include the Space Needle, the Million Dollar Display, and the Monorail. I also have a Space Needle low relief struck in a white metal. I do not believe these were ever officially issued at the fair. It is reported that the low relief pieces were struck in Washington, but I have no other information at this time about who actually made them. One of these days I will get the formal catalog listing done for these pieces and I will post it here.

Per John Dean, I learned something I wasn't aware of... that silver plated bronze SCD medals for the 1962 Century 21 Seattle World's Fair were made. Apparently these medals weigh about 3 grams less than the silver ones and can fool folks who think they are solid silver. John's photo clearly shows some underlying bronze showing through on this piece.

Here are some photos of the bronze medals in the same album...

I saw this 3.5 inch uniface medal (weighs 3.5oz, 100 grams) recently, and while not a SCD, I thought i'd post it as it's made in Germany which reminds me of other German items at past world fairs (eg. Lauer, Stubenrauch). I haven't seen it before and don't know who made it, but I wonder if it was ever made in different sizes. edited by rjesinger on 2/17/2013

I went to the Space Needle today and picked up one of the lower content silver medals from their gift shop. I was skeptical at first, because it wasn't stamped with 999, 925, sterling, etc., but said "The Metal Arts Co. Inc." on the edge. The cashier assured it was silver "mixed with something else". I liked the design enough that I thought I'd pick one up. When I got back to my room, I went to their website's shopping area (, clicked on "Souvenirs" and then selected "Authentic 1962 World's Fair Silver Coin". From their description: "Own a piece of history! This coin is 56% real silver, 39mm and was created in 1962 for the Century 21 World's Fair held on the Seattle Center Grounds. 25 grams." I hope this helps folks in the future.

In addition to the 8 High Relief Silver and 1 U.S. Mint smaller medal in this set, there is also a 5 ounce silver medal featuring the Space Needle. I have seen one example and the original box it came in. Obviously too large to qualify as a So Called Dollar, it is nevertheless interesting to note that a complete set of the 1962 Century 21 Seattle World's Fair Medals would need to include this larger medal.

I should follow-up John's notes about the silver-plated mint medal with the note that the .999 Fine silver Space Needle medals are sometimes removed from the books and a lower fineness medal substituted in its place. You have to actually pull the medal and check the edge stamp to be sure you have the proper medal. edited by bill on 1/17/2013

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