Last weekend, Feb. 13 – 16th, in Nashville I attended an awesome antique show near the Grand Ol Opry. The Fiddler Hotel was host to over 90 antique dealers. Each dealer was given a room on the first floor to open up shop.
My particular interest this weekend was to find vintage jewelry and religious medallions and rosaries to use in creating unique bohemian jewelry pieces.
In one of the shops I found a beautiful silver bowl filled with religious medallions. As I was sorting through this bowl I found a wonderful St. Christopher medal. It was a larger than a quarter and had a wonderful image and patina. I purchased this along with several other medallions. Yesterday while taking a closer look. I turned over the medal and there was an imprint on it that read “To FC From Bishop Choi.”
My first thought, who is Bishop Choi and who is FC and how did this medal come to play? So, I googled Bishop Choi and found that he was a Priest, Bishop and Archbishop in Pusan, South Korea, from 1962-1973, during the same time period of the Vietnam War. There are many stories circulating the internet about these Vietnam-era-medals issued by Bishop Choi. The St. Christopher medal was often attached to a rosary and had the initials of the serviceman hand-stamped on the back of them by the Bishop’s assistants. So cool, imagine my medal has already been stamped, especially for a certain serviceman.
Now the question is, ‘How much is my hand-stamped St. Christopher medal worth?” Through research, I have discovered that since the death of Bishop Choi in 2008 these St. Christopher Medals have become highly sought after collectables. The medals alone without the rosaries are worth anywhere from 15.00 to 65.00, some medals value in the hundreds. One particular medal is said to have been given to John F. Kennedy. Bishop Choi sent him one while he was President and unlike most of the medals, which only have the first and last initial stamped on it, President Kennedy’s had “JFK”.
Call it what you want, treasure hunting, dumpster diving, picking, or even being a modern archaeologist. I love it! Meeting the collectors and antique dealers on this memorabilia- seeking mission was truly a history lesson, providing a distance glimpse into the past.
But, this was not the only treasure I uncovered. Check back to see some of the other pieces I acquired…………