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The BIDE-A-WEE Medal

Entry posted by gherrmann44 · - 165 views

Bide-A-Wee is Scottish for "Stay A While" and is the name of an animal rescue and adoption center in Manhattan founded by Mrs. Flora D'Auby Jenkins Kibbe in 1903. Bide-A-Wee still exists today and has a policy of not euthanizing the animals in their care except for pain and suffering. As a result in 115 years of operation they have been able to place over a million dogs and cats into loving homes. 

A collector favorite, the Bide-A-Wee medal was awarded to persons in grateful recognition of their "service in the cause of friendless animals." The pictured medal is a bronze un-awarded uniface example designed by then sculptor Laura Gardin around 1913 just before her marriage to James Earle FraserIt is interesting to note that although the Medallic Art Company catalogs the die pair as MAco 1918-002 that the design pre-dates 1918 because it is signed Laura Gardin rather than Laura Gardin Fraser. The obverse of the medal features three of Laura Gardin's favorite dogs seated together. Surrounding the dogs is the inscription, "LOYALTY, DEVOTION, FORGIVENESS, HUMOR." The edge inscription reads "L.G. Fraser (copyright symbol) 1919. 

The picture attached to this post is of Arctic explorer Rear-Admiral Richard E. Byrd being presented the Bide-A-Wee medal in 1930 for devotion to his terrier ironically named, "Igloo". Interestingly, Laura Gardin Fraser is also credited with designing the National Geographic Special Medal of Honor for Rear-Admiral Richard E. Byrd in 1930. One side of this medallion sized medal prominently features the bust of Admiral Byrd.

The only fly in the ointment is that this medal is details graded by NGC for cleaning. When I submitted the medal for grading, I hadn't noticed the cleaning. Now that the medal has been graded I can see the cleaning and I agree with NGC's conclusion. For me, the fingerprint on this medal is more distracting than the cleaning which is probably why I didn't catch the cleaning. Still, even with the cleaning and fingerprint I visually find this medal very appealing. Thus, I am thrilled to own this medal because it is scarce and rarely comes up for sale or auction. 

1919_Bide_A_Wee-1.jpg

1930_Admiral_Byrd_Bide-A-Wee.jpg


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"LOYALTY, DEVOTION, FORGIVENESS, HUMOR."  sort of conveys my feeling about numismatics, although I do need to work on forgiving myself for a few coin buying blunders.  Placing pets into loving homes is a great endeavor. Thanks for the heartwarming story.

Edited by jgenn

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8 hours ago, Mk123 said:

@gherrmann44 How many of these medals where made? What makes them particularly scarce?

First, the problem with most medals is that the mintages are unknown probably because they were struck to order as they were awarded. Although my medal is un-awarded, the awarded medals tend to be kept by the families they were awarded. Of course all awarded medals are one of a kind and if Admiral Byrd's medal ever came up for sale it would sell for a pretty penny. An un-awarded medal could be a trial strike or copies that the awardee would give out as souvenirs to their family and friends. Thus, the reason for the scarcity of this medal is the law of supply and demand. Because of the subject and sentimental design of the medal, this medal is in high demand. In my two plus years of collecting Laura Gardin Fraser designed coins and medals this was the only example of this medal I have seen for sale or auction. I purchased this medal through a true auction on E-Bay and the bidding was high and spirited. The only thing that keeps medals like this one affordable for me is that far fewer people collect medals than do coins. This is why I feel the way I do about the cleaning. I'll gladly take a piece that has been cleaned rather than have no piece at all and not know when or if I'll see another example become available.   

Edited by gherrmann44

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