The first quarter of the 20th century was brilliant for the art of the medal. During that time, many medals were produced for purely artistic reasons, others had more practical purposes, such as those presented as award medals during international expositions that were popular at the time. The award medals were designed by many names familiar to collectors today because these artists also designed coins.
A 1913 gold Better Babies medal, designed by Laura Gardin Fraser, graded AU-50 was sold for $2,585.
Before marrying James Earle Fraser, Laura Gardin Fraser gave birth to her 1913 Better Babies medal. She married James, who designed the Indian Head 5-cent piece. Her skill as a sculptor was commendable.
Medal scholar Elaine Leotti wrote in her assessment of female medal sculptors that the Better Babies medal is her only piece which can truly be called feminine. She adds “It is a well-balanced medal, nicely executed and is more on the sentimental side. The babies’ bare flesh is soft, almost palpable, their curls and dimpled elbows invite touch, thus appealing to exactly the audience the medal was meant to impress.”
The medal was sponsored by Woman’s Home Companion magazine and the publication’s name is on the reverse. Leotti estimated that the medal was presented for around a decade. This gold example was hand-engraved to Nettie Dixon Robertson of Montgomery, Alabama, in 1913. The medal, graded About Uncirculated 50 by ANACS and measuring 34 millimeters in diameter, sold for $2,585 on March 29.