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Roberts Birds Medals (Franklin Mint, 1970-1976)


The beauty and mystery of birds was both the theme and the inspiration for this series of 50 medals, issued in groups of 5, from 1970-1976. The series is named for Gilroy Roberts, the dean of America's medallic sculptors. The obverse portrays one or more birds of a species as they are actually seen in nature. The reverse is inscribed by Gilroy Roberts' signature mark.

This was one of the Franklin Mint's most popular issues, and also most unusual. The medals were issued one at a time, rather than in sets, although each Series of 5 was priced at a discount. Ten series of 5 medals were issued, called Series I through X (Series I is medals 1-5, Series II is medals 6-10, etc.). The mintage of each individual medal - even within a series - is different. Each individual medal came in a plastic capsule, but no other packaging. Since the set became very popular, the Franklin Mint later offered a variety of packaging options, including individual frames, frames for a set of 5, and albums that would hold multiple frames. Each medal was minted with a beautiful, finely frosted gem Proof finish, so that the sculptor image is set dramatically against a polished background of mirror-like brilliance.

The 50 medal set was issued from 1970 to 1976. The 51 millimeter medals were only produced in sterling silver.


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