Last week’s Kentucky Derby win by Rich Strike was one of the biggest upsets in the famous race’s nearly 150-year history. The chestnut colt wasn’t even scheduled to compete in this year’s “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” until just before the deadline, when Ethereal Road was scratched from the lineup.
While his competitors ran out of gas and slowed to gallops, Rich Strike kept a miraculously full tank and rode first to the finish line.
NBC described Rich Strike’s 80-to-1 odds as being the second-longest shot in the Kentucky Derby’s history.
Now, Rich Strike, his owner Rick Dawson, and jockey Sonny Leon are being showered with well-earned accolades.
If you’re the betting type, a $50 wager on long-shot Rich Strike would have yielded a payoff of $4,090—more than enough winnings to build yourself a very nice display of Kentucky Derby medals and other collectibles.
One such medal is this week’s featured collectible “From the Colonel’s Desk.”
In 1974 the Wittnauer Mint of New Rochelle, New York (“Makers of Fine Medallic Art”), produced a beautiful silver medal honoring Churchill Downs and the 100th anniversary of the Derby.
The medal was designed by artist Marcel Jovine, who was noted for his equestrian sculptures and later designed coins for the United States Mint. It’s crafted of sterling silver with a gold overlay, and weighs 1.25 avoirdupois ounces.
To add this dramatic piece to your collection, you don’t have to be a winning racer—just a winning auction bidder, or a lucky coin-shop visitor.
Recent sales put its value at around $50 for an average specimen, or more for attractively toned pieces.
There are thousands of beautiful and historic horse-racing medals, tokens, and related collectibles within American numismatics. Some of the best of them celebrate the Bluegrass State’s long-beloved Kentucky Derby. Jump into the race and you’ll find some winning pieces for your own collection.
Dennis Tucker is the publisher of Whitman Publishing, a leading producer of books, storage and display supplies, and other resources for collectors and hobbyists. He was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel in March 2021 for his career in book publishing and his promotion of the Commonwealth’s status as an important subject in numismatics. His column “From the Colonel’s Desk” explores the Bluegrass State’s rich connections to American coins, tokens, medals, paper money, private currency, and related artifacts. To read more, visit the “From the Colonel’s Desk” archives.
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