Commemorating the Red Baron

Why is this medal so rare? Read on…

Why is this medal so rare? Read on…

In 1965 Charles M. Schulz, after extensive research in all aspects of World War I, introduced his beloved Snoopy character’s alter-ego to fans worldwide. Dressed in a red scarf, goggles, and a flying cap, Snoopy would sit atop his doghouse (imagining it to be an airplane) and participate in dogfights against the Red Baron, who was based on a real German flying ace, Captain Baron Manfred von Richthofen. Schulz was obviously someone who closely watched trends because he debuted his new character during a period that glamorized WWI aviators in feature films, radio dramas, books, and comics.

Karl Goetz, an artist who created over 800 medal designs in his 40 year career, often cast into medallic history the turbulent events and German reactions to WWI. Like Schultz, Goetz often closely watched trends and avidly perused several newspapers to use as informational sources for his work. As we still experience in today’s world of fast-paced reporting, the media (whether in newsprint, on television, or on-line) can inadvertently give false or misleading information. What is seen or heard in the media should be confirmed through proper due diligence with regards to researching reliable and credible sources. Unfortunately, Goetz made errors on several of his medals due to such misinformation including one that commemorates the death of Captain Baron Manfred von Richthofen. Richthofen, nicknamed the Red Baron, was killed on the Somme battlefield April 21, 1918.

Richthofen was credited with 80 kills (more than any other WWI pilot) and was considered a true nobleman for his reputation of never killing an enemy after he had them outmaneuvered. He would force his opponent to land, land beside him in his red Fokker plane, help the other pilot out of his airplane, and treated the captured enemy with dignity and honor. It is truly unfortunate that this nobleman’s medal was created and cast with several errors: some versions of Goetz’s medals have 80 and some have 89 as the number of air victories displayed. The dates on some of the medals were also erroneous as Goetz transposed the correct date of death (April 21st) to the incorrect date of April 12th. The erroneous medal with 89 kills is considered to be rare and more valuable than the other medals. Why is that?

Curious why one erroneously casted medal would be more valuable than another erroneously casted medal? Call Dale at (989) 239-4655 to discover how medal values are determined.

Why Pass Out Cigars When You Can Pass Out Medals?

Isolde and Wilfried Weckherlin Medal

Isolde and Wilfried Weckherlin Medal

The origin of the tradition of passing out cigars when a baby is born is not exactly known, but theories say that it may date back to the American Indians who exchanged gifts to celebrate the birth of a child during the “potlatch” ceremony. The primitive cigar was considered to be one of the most valuable offerings. Other theories say that before babies were born in hospitals, they were often born at home where the father would anxiously await the birth in another room. Since the birthing process usually took a long time, it became a tradition for the father and his male friends to celebrate by lighting up a cigar once the baby or babies were born.

Karl Goetz created a unique way for families to celebrate the birth of a child or children. In this 1924 cast bronze birth medal, the birth of twins Isolde and Wilfried Weckherlin is commemorated. The twins are the children of Goetz’s own children’s violin teacher. One side portrays Isolde holding a flower and Wilfried clasping her left hand with his. The twins are shown standing on top of a zodiac with the sun rising in Taurus. The other side of the medal features a violin, musical notes, a cornucopia (symbolizing peace and prosperity), and a quarter-note (referencing their father’s profession).

Would you rather hand out cigars or have a medal commissioned?

5 Questions & Answers - Part 3


Q:  What Returns are Possible? 

A:  Commemorative medals may offer attractive returns for investors. Via selective purchasing and market knowledge of various world markets, one can maintain a superior compound annual growth rates of return. Some rare medals appreciate well in excess over other collectibles.  Additionally, even in 2017, some elements of the world coin and medals markets are in fact inefficient. Medals are sold and purchased via auctions, private sales, and conventions, via professional dealers, eBay, other online Internet sites and even estate sales.

Although these markets are varied, there are no centralized clearing houses, markets or web sites. The majority of the industry is still phone and fax! These inefficiencies create the ability to source under market pricing with develop above market yields.

The bottom line is that rare medals offer fun, history, enjoyment, yield, value and appreciation, all rolled into one unique hedge!

5 Questions & Answers - Part 2


Rare collectible tangible assets offer a strong value proposition

  • Solid assets with intrinsic value
  • Proven performance and appreciation over the long haul
  • Hedge against Inflation and deflation
  • Safety and portability
  • Private portable wealth

Illustrative Asset Returns 2006 – 2016 (Bloomberg 2016)
Rare Investment Grade Coins

10 Year Price Increase 225% (8.13% Compound Rate)
Last 12 Months 9%

Rare Stamps
10 Year Price Increase 255% (9.39% Compound Rate)
Last 12 Months 7%

Rare Commemorative Medals
10 Year Price Increase 250% (9% Compound Rate) Last 12 Months 12%+


Q: What are rare historical investment grade commemorative medals?

A:  A sub-set of rare coins are rare commemorative medals. (Not to be confused with metals). Antique rare, historical, commemorative medals were hand-made medal creations of various world artisans that were primarily created from the early 1800’s through the 1960’s. These artists sought to make medals that spoke to any number of political and even mundane issues of everyday life. Some were political, satirical, commemorative, shooting contests and even familial issues such as weddings or anniversaries. A number of amazing artists have created collectible artistic medals in the last 200 years. These creations have become quite collectible and valuable.


Q: Who was Karl Goetz?

A:  One particular German medalist was Karl Goetz (1875 – 1950). Goetz dealt in commemorative medals over a long and prolific career. Goetz is thought to have created between 800 – 1,000 various medals that make amazing collectible tangible assets. Goetz was most active from around 1900 – 1945.

Karl Goetz created cast medals that he sold commercially. He also would work with the State Mint and had many of the medals he created struck similarly to official German coins. Additionally a customer might bring in the family silver or gold to provide the precious metal for the medals that they were buying via a custom order. Goetz might either create political or even satirical medals to commemorate important events around the world at the time, or Goetz might find a commercially “hot” topic from the 1900s through World War II. Goetz would also have customers come to him and he would create medals honoring a graduation, a birth, a wedding, anniversary, or other familial topics. These medals have become extremely collectible and valuable over the last 100 years.

5 Questions & Answers - Part 1


Many investment professionals believe the current US and World economies are still mired in stagnation with low or zero growth. The Central Banks of the US, the European Union and Asia continue to be concerned and confused as to economic direction and solutions for the this lack of growth. Investors are caught in the middle and are left with difficult decisions to find places to invest that meet their needs for safety and returns above the current bank savings rates of 1%, or less. 


Q: How can an investor get relative safety with a hedge against inflation (when it does re-occur) and still get growth? 

A:  One option with historically significant returns are tangible assets.  Although tangible asset classes include precious metals, there are a number of different classes.


Q: What are Tangible Asset Classes?

A: Definition: A tangible asset is an asset that has a physical form. Tangible assets include both fixed assets, such as machinery, buildings and land, and current assets, such as inventory. Nonphysical assets, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, goodwill and brand recognition, are all examples of intangible assets.

Surprisingly, tangible assets or “hard assets” known as collectables are large world markets that trade in the billions of dollars. Bloomberg estimates the following collectable market sizes for 2016

Collectible and Related Market Descriptions’ by Size

Jewelry Market - $150 Billion

Global Art Market - $75 Billion

Diamonds Market - $72 Billion

Paintings Market - $64 Billion

Classic Car Market - $50 Billion

 Watch Market - $40 Billion

Antiques Market - $16 Billion

Rare Coins & Medals - $7 Billion

Rare Clock Market - $5 Billion

Lunch Box Market - $100 Million

Wine Market - $100 Million

Do you Own Modern High Grade Precious Metal Coins?

The movie star comes on the set, looks at the camera and talks about owning gold and silver for the prudent investor. The actor claims that MS 70 gold or silver high grade coins will hedge against future downturns and economic uncertainty. The famous actor claims he has done so. Sounds good, right? 

Unfortunately, these TV and movie actors and the marketing firms they represent, fail to broach the issue that in order for a modern coin to be an MS 70, it must have been minted yesterday, which is exactly the case. The reason that the coin is pristine and perfect is because it is only a few days old and never touched by any human, only the machine that stamped out the coin. Secondly, the marketers of such coins also fail to mention that the modern gold or silver coin is also marked up as much as 600% over cost. While the bullion value of these modern coins do have precious metal value, it is typically nowhere near what one paid for the asset. Investors that seek to sell these assets later are typically shocked to learn they have taken a bath, not created a hedge.

We at Tangible Assets LLC have a solution for these problems. Via industry and legal alliances, we are often able to recover all or substantially all of ones costs from these transactions. Those who find themselves in this problematic dilemma should contact Tangible Assets LLC to discuss a solution. We recently dealt with an investor that had invested $400,000 in modern precious metal coins only to find his bullion redemption value closer to $100,000. We were able address this dilemma and recover 100% of the cost for this investor.

Political Controversy

The 2016 presidential election campaign created several points of controversy among them Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account to conduct official business as Secretary of State and Donald Trumps never ending comments that raised more than a few eyebrows (whether intentional or a slip of the tongue). Whether it was a Saturday Night Live skit or a political cartoon, the world saw politics through media and art.

Since the early 1950’s International maritime law requires an obligation to render assistance to those in distress at sea without regard to their circumstances, nationality, or status. Search-and-rescue (SAR) services throughout the world largely depend on international shipping to assist anyone is distress at sea. Frequent news media reports indicate that migrants and refugees often risk their lives to travel by sea in search of better living conditions, educational opportunities, gainful employment, or to avoid wartime conflicts within their own country. Acceptance, financial ramifications for the “host country”, and whether or not to return these refugees has become a hot topic among political parties recently.

Karl Goetz, a world renowned engraver born in Germany, produced many medals in the early to middle 1900’s that reflected the current political struggles and controversies of the world. In his most famous work, you can see parallels to today’s political skirmishes. Only a handful of some of these rare, detailed, old-world craftsmanship medals survive.

Goetz’s medal, Loss of Zeppelin, depicts a dramatic WWI incident when the Zeppelin became disabled with more than 28 people on board. A British trawler, King Stephen, with a crew of 9 unarmed men came upon the Zeppelin but refused to help fearing that the Germans would overpower them and take the trawler as a prize. The inscription on 1 side of the medal proclaims, “Cursed be the British at sea and cursed be your bad conscience – help seeking shipwrecked people had to drown. February 2, 1916.”

Perhaps, this 1916 incident had some effect on the creation of international maritime laws. I believe that if Goetz were alive today, he would create a medal depicting the struggles of refugees. What do you think?

Don't Put all your Eggs in One Basket!

Most people think that their portfolio’s progress should be in tandem with the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Today the Dow contains about 30 massive publically traded companies that are supposed to represent American economic progress. Most investors don’t want all the turbulent ups and downs of being fully vested in the Dow. That’s where we come in! Tangible Assets LLC specializes in helping people diversify into hard assets. Go ahead and take a small portion of your portfolio out of the paper markets and instead diversify into: Fun… Knowledge… History… Something Tangible!

Lusitania Who?

I believe almost everyone has heard of the British passenger liner, RMS Titanic, that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of April 15, 1912 after colliding with an iceberg. Despite a 300 foot gash in her side, the Titanic remained afloat for 2-1/2 hrs after the collision, allowing some of her passengers to escape in lifeboats. Of the 2,224 passengers on board during her maiden voyage, more than 1,500 died… making it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. But, have you ever heard of the Lusitania?

On May 7, 1915 a torpedo was shot from a German submarine and subsequently sank the RMS Lusitania. In contrast to the Titanic, the Lusitania sank in just 18 minutes after a mysterious second explosion that has never been explained rocked the ship. This event catalyzed the United States involvement into World War I… a war in which President Wilson didn’t want to be a part of. There is a conspiracy theory that for over 100 years has remained shrouded in mystery. Was the ship deliberately put at risk? Was the attack really necessary? Did the British Navy know that the Lusitania would be attacked and sunk prior to it happening?

Ronald J. Walters, an author living in Traverse City, Michigan, has always been intrigued by the Lusitania and the fact that its place in history has been obscured by the Titanic’s sinking. His 3 year research project culminated in the book, The Lusitania Conspiracy.

Tangible Assets, LLC currently has in its collection of hard assets several medals produced by renowned German artist, Karl Goetz, commemorating the sinking of the Lusitania. Included in this collection is a rare medal that was incorrectly created with the wrong date, which made some people wonder if Goetz had prior knowledge of the attack. Most everyone assumes that Goetz was a patriot and simply made a mistake based on misinformation.