So-Called Dollars


Medal sponsored and issued by Port of New York Authority; designed by Julio Kilenyi, New York sculptor; struck by Robbins Co., Attleboro, MA

Authority is self-supporting, public corporate agency of New York and New Jersey; created 1921 "to deal with terminal and transportation improve and protect commerce of the...Port District"; operates 5 airports and heliports, 4 bridges, 2 vehicular tunnels, several railroad, bus, truck and marine terminals, and a variety of other real estate including the site of the former World Trade Center.

After first commercial flight on July 1, 1948, New York International Airport was dedicated July 31, 1948, during International Air Exposition as part of New York's "Golden Anniversary" (Greater New York formed Jan. 1, 1898 by organization of adjacent counties into 5 boroughs of NY). Commonly called Idlewild Airport due to location partly at site of Idlewild Golf Course, latter name from a Native American term for the area, "Idalwilde", or "peaceful but savage". Airport was rededicated on Dec. 24, 1963, as John F. Kennedy International Airport, following action of the Mayor and Council of the City of New York and a resolution of the Commissioners of the Port Authority. Over 41,000,000 passengers and over 300,000 airplanes handled by airport in 2005.

Medal struck in 3 in. and 1 3/8 in. sizes; Silver specimens of former presented to high Federal and state officials while Bronze pieces given other guests. "Several thousand" medals struck in 1 3/8 in. size, Gilt only, mostly "with key chain loops"; distributed to general public both at dedication and "later at Golden Exposition which ran for over a month in Grand Central Palace, N. Y. C." Port Authority advised that none of these medals was sold.

Photos courtesy of John Dean

Obv. In center is an involved shield-like design; above New York / International / Airport; on shield, at top, small Dedication / July 31 1948; on l. panel of shield Size / 4900 Acres / Terminal Area / 160 Acres; on r. panel of shield 10 Miles / of Runways / Cost / $160,000,000; below Construction Started / by the City of New York / April 1942; border legend The Port of New York Authority
Rev. Clouds at top above layout of the roads and runways at airport; below, at extreme l. border, microscopic Kilenyi; at extreme bottom border, around to r., small © New York International Airport

HK-499 Gilt. 34mm.

HK-496 to HK-498