September 2021


Whatchamacallit 87: United Nations 25th Anniversary Medal

United Nations 25th Anniversary Medal

This medal, solid sterling silver, issued by the Franklin Mint, celebrates the 25th anniversary of the United Nations.

Issued in 1970, it has, according to Numista, a bullion value of US$7.28 and is, in theory, worth $16.68. Except that the obverse side of mine has some discoloring of some kind (visible on the front, in the lower right part of the circle) —even though it has lived sealed inside this plastic case for all of its life (as far as I know).

The medal was a gift from my paternal grandmother – and is, as far as I can think, the only thing I have received directly from her that I still own. There might be some other goods, but those escape my thinking right now.

It currently hides out in a bookcase in my hallway – so I rarely see it – but when I do, I am reminded of my paternal grandmother. She had a fur coat that I adored hugging because it felt so comfortable and amazing – but that would not be kosher today. I have no idea what kind of fur it was and I have no idea what happened to the coat after she passed away.

Interestingly, the front of the coin features a statue that is apparently in the UN garden: a figure of a man beating a sword into a plowshare.

I’ve never made this connection before, but my Master’s Thesis was about Project Plowshare, an effort by the United States Government to take nuclear weapons and used them for peaceful purposes. In my case, I explore Project Wagon Wheel, which would have detonated five nuclear bombs underneath Sublette County, Wyoming, in an effort to get natural gas out of tight sandstone formations.

I will not rehash that here; you can learn more about it in my Wagon Wheel Archives.

My Grandmother believed in the concept of the United Nations – and I suspect she valued this medal quite highly.

During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

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