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Early American Medals


bill
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I picked up two French restrikes of early American medals recently. The first is the John Paul Jones medal commissioned by the American Congress to honor Jones. The original medal was designed by Dupre and struck by the French mint. Mine is a restrike from the 1880 to 1901 period (cornucopia BRONZE edge mark).

 

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The second is a French medal honoring Benjamin Franklin, also by Dupre. The reverse shows the winged Genius with the flame of liberty above his head. The imagery symbolizes the Latin legend, He snatched lightening from heaven and liberty from the tyrant. (Lightening on one side, the broken crown and scepter on the other.)

 

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Edited this post for my error in typing Dupuis instead of Dupre. I can't believe I did that although the works of Dupre and Dupuis are equally spectacular as the following posts note. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maximum Culpa)

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I picked up two French restrikes of early American medals recently. The first is the John Paul Jones medal commissioned by the American Congress to honor Jones. The original medal was designed by Dupuis and struck by the French mint. Mine is a restrike from the 1880 to 1901 period (cornucopia BRONZE edge mark).

 

918061.jpg

 

The second is a French medal honoring Benjamin Franklin, also by Dupuis. The reverse shows the winged Genius with the flame of liberty above his head. The imagery symbolizes the Latin legend, He snatched lightening from heaven and liberty from the tyrant. (Lightening on one side, the broken crown and scepter on the other.)

 

918048.jpg

You do know that you need to send me all your Dupuis metals for the next few years don't you?

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Those are beautiful medals!!! :ninja:

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You do know that you need to send me all your Dupuis metals for the next few years don't you?

 

Damn! I should have read the rules first.

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Those are beautiful medals!!! ;)

 

The JPJ cost me less than the 1960s US mint restrike sold for on Ebay. I paid under $30. The Franklin had one other bidder, so it cost just over $30. I thought they were good deals. Both have an edge number painted in something reddish pink, so I assume they came from the same collection (safe assumption). It must be the owner's collection number as it doesn't match up with Betts, although it could be from a French catalog that I don't own (yet :ninja: ).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Added another piece, this one by Duvivier. The Washington Before Boston medal was the first authorized by the Continental congress to commemorate the evacuation of Boston, the first victory over the British on March 17, 1776. It was the first authorized, but not the first to be struck.

 

919001.jpg

 

The piece pictured here is the US Mint version, fourth restrike made in light bronze from post 1900 to ca. 1970. This piece was listed as an "original" because of the four horse hooves under the horse on the reverse. George Fuld traced the evolution of the original and restriks in a 1963 Journal of the Token and Medal Society article. The original gold medal and silver and bronze copies featured four hooves. One is known in gold (Wshington's), 2 in silver (one ex-Washington), and 5 or 6 in bronze. The first French restrike has four hooves and and oval O in Primo (as on the later restriks as opposed to the round O of the first). The second French restrike (after 1830 with edge marks) has three hooves, hence the label "original" for four hooves. The third restrike by the US Mint was made from the French second restrike and has three hooves. The fourth restrike (US mint) and fifth restrike (French mint) have the four hooves. The French restrike have edge marks.

 

I'm looking for an early French strike for my collection, but the US Mint version will do for now. At 68 mm in diameter, it is an impressive piece.

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Superb medals :ninja:

 

Show some more

 

As I find and acquire them. I have Comitia Americana series restruck in pewter by the US Mint in 1976. They are on smaller sized planchets and the details are not as nice as the original sized bronze medals. Nevertheless, the set is interesting. I'll make it a point to photograph the set soon.

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As I find and acquire them. I have Comitia Americana series restruck in pewter by the US Mint in 1976. They are on smaller sized planchets and the details are not as nice as the original sized bronze medals. Nevertheless, the set is interesting. I'll make it a point to photograph the set soon.

 

 

Thank you

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I really like the early French restrikes of the early American medals, but I rarely encounter them (I got locked out of a major auction of early American material through an error in Ebay's live auction system. The lots I was interested in went for less than half of the bids I had entered through Ebay. Oh well, someone got a good deal and the owner lost potential income because of the technical problems.

 

In the meantime, my favorite Dupre medal is the famed Libertas Americana medal. The design was a collaboration of Benjamin Franklin and the French artist.

 

My latest purchase is a French restrike, only it is a 2006 restrike. It is struck in bronze, but it just doesn't have the richness of the pieces from the 1800s and an original medal is beautiful beyond belief. I recommend spending some time examining an original if you encounter one at a show. They run about $5,000 to $25,000 depending on condition, quality, etc.

 

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The obverse speaks for itself, the head of liberty with flowing hair and a liberty (Phrygian) cap on a pole. The reverse inscription reads, The infant is not bold without divine aid. Minerva, representing France defends the infant from attack by a lion representing Britian. The infant Hercules representing America strangles a serpent in each hand.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I acquired three more of the series, all struck by the US Mint. But first, I promised the Bicentennial set, struck in pewter. The mint issued these in pairs, each in their own holders. You could by an album with a booklet about the history of the medals that was supposed to come with the Libertas Americana medal. As you see here, a Treasury medal replace the piece as the Paris mint issued their own version (in gold) of the medal to commemorate the bicentennial. I think it is the only medal of the series that the US Mint has never been given permission to reproduce. The mint made their own dies of the others based on medals purchased from France. The pewter medals are smaller and do not reporoduce the details of the originals.

 

 

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Gorgeous, Bill! I'm lazy so I don't feel like searching through the thread for the answer, but what year were those later additions minted?

 

The Paris medals were designed and struck in the late 1700s and additional medals were struck in a variety of metals on demand. In some cases the dies were sent to American with the original medals. In the 1860s, the mint under took a medal program and wanted to make the medals available to the public. In some cases they had the original dies, in other cases they made new dies using medals as galvanos. I'm not well versed in the early mint products, but they were struck from a richer bronze than the yellow bronze used in the mid 1900s. They could be ordered from the US Mint into the early 1970s. The pewter set was struck for the 1976 bicentennial.

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The General Horatio Gates medal awarded by Congress for Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga.

 

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The medal was designed and engraved by Nicholas Marie Gatteaux in Paris under the direction of Thomas Jefferson. The dies were sent to Gates along with his gold medal and the US Mint used the original dies to strike medals until 1885. Barber engraved a new set so the mint could continue to produce medals on demand. The above medal is likely a ca. 1960s product.

 

The obverse reads, Horatio Gates, Valiant Leader. The reverse shows Burgoyne surrendering his sword to Gates at Saratoga. Gates soldiers are shown in formation behind him. Burgoyne's troops lay down their arms behind him. The inscription reads, The Safety of the Northern Regions Secured, The Enemy at Saratoga Surrendered October 17, 1777. Gates served in the British army until he retired to Virginia. He joined the Continental army but retired again after the defeat of his troops by Cornwallis in 1780.

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Anthony Wayne award medal for the Battle of Stony Point.

 

923162.jpg

 

Another Gatteaux designed medal. The Indian Princess represents America presenting Wayne a laurel wreath honoring his l\storming of the British fortress at Stony Point. That's an aligator at her feet, along with a shield. "Mad Anthony" was known for his valor in battle. To ensure the element of surprise, he stormed the fortress with unloaded muskets with bayonets attached. They did not want to risk an accidental discharge betraying their assault. The reverse is a view of the assault from the opposite side of the Hudson river. The original dies were never located. Barber prepared new dies in 1887 from an electrotype of the original gold medal.

 

The obverse reads Anthony Wayne, General of the Army. The reverse reads Stony Point Stormed, July 15, 1779.

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General Daniel Morgan's medal for his command and victory in the Battle at Cowpens.

 

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An Augustin Dupre medal engraved and struck in 1789 and awarded 1790. America as an Indian Princess places the laurel wreath on Morgan's head. Dupre's signature is barely visible at the bottom of the exergue. The inscription reads Daniel Morgan, General of the Army. The reverse shows a battle scene with hand-to-hand combat in the foreground and the enemy fleeing in the distance. The inscription reads, Victory, the Protector of Freedom. The Enemy Put to Flight, Taken, or Slain at Cowpens, July 17, 1781.

 

The original gold medal was lost, so Washington's silver copy of the medal was returned to Paris to have a new die engraved. The dies were still in use at the US Mint in 1885. Presumably, more recent strikes such as this one are from another set of dies.

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  • 4 months later...

The second French restrike of the Washinton medal. Note the three hooves under Washington's horse on the reverse:

 

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I've added the American mint version for easier comparison:

 

919001.jpg

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