Legislation was passed to produce a 5 year series of 1 oz. and 1/2 gold medallions that would honor American Artists. Marion Anderson and Louis Armstrong were part of this program which began in 1980. These are not legal tender. No where do they say United States of America.
There were 218,624 of the Marion Anderson’s medallion created. And there were 409,098 of the Louis Armstrong 1.0z gold medallions created. Note that these medallions were 90% gold and 10% copper. Many of them were not purchased for collectible value but for bullion value. Hence, many have been melted for the gold content.
Today, because of their rarity, they have collector value as well as bullion value. So if you have one that is a good thing.
See a picture of the Marion Anderson medal by clicking on this link.
You can see a sale of the Louis Armstrong medal and the picture of the coin on both sides by clicking this link.
1980 and 1981 Medallions
The 1980 and 1981 concepts and designs had several flaws:
• They were not given a face value to make them legal tender, hence they are medallions and not coins.
• Nowhere on the pieces did it say United States of America.
• The edges were smooth instead of reeded as was done for almost all gold and silver U.S. coins.
• None of them state their gold content. The 1980 issues were shipped in Styrofoam trays, where the gold content was stated on the plastic that covered the Styrofoam. In order to remove the medallions from this packaging, buyers had to discard the information on the gold content.
The Mint removed order limits later in 1980. Thereafter, a number of major bullion firms made huge purchases of medallions on days when the price of gold rose substantially. These trading houses informed Bradford that a high percentage of these bulk purchases were melted.
In 1986, Bradford estimated that 15 percent of the 1980 issues and 10 percent of the 1981 issues were melted. Today, we think the net meltage is conservatively 20 percent for 1980 and 15 percent for 1981.
218, 624 medallions were made in 1980.