So-Called Dollars


Medal struck privately to commemorate inauguration of jet air service across country by American Airlines January 25, 1959; designed by Joseph Di Lorenzo; struck by Medallic Art Co. Original issue, about 8,500 German-silver pieces, presented by American Airlines "to the many men and women who shared in pioneering this epochal event including the Company's guests and passengers aboard the pre-inaugural and inaugural flights." Airlines personnel quickly dubbed medal "Jet Dollar."

Subsequently, a collector of so-called dollars obtained permission for additional strikings to make piece available to fellow collectors. Total said struck under such authority were 250 sterling Silver, numbered 1 to 250; 150 sterling Silver unnumbered and 400 German-silver unnumbered.

Silver medals, numbered, have an edge Medallic Art Co. N. Y. Sterling. Numbers 1 to 50 are "presentation" pieces with names of various recipients (collectors and others) engraved also on edge; numbers 51 through 250 bear no name. Silver medals, unnumbered, have on edge Medallic Art Co. N. Y. Sterling or Medallic Art Co. N. Y. Sterling Silver, obviously creating two varieties.

Photos courtesy of John Dean

Obv. In center an Eagle, wings spread high, large A each side (Seal of American Airlines); above American Airlines; below eagle January / 1959; below around First Jet Service Across the U. S. A.
Rev. Jet airplane, microscopic American Airlines on fuselage; above A New Era Begins; below 707 Jet Flagship

HK-538 German-silver. 38mm.
HK-539 Silver, numbered, per above.
HK-540 Silver, unnumbered, "Sterling" on edge, per above.
HK-541 Silver, unnumbered, "Sterling Silver" on edge, per above.

HK-528 to HK-537