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History Buffs Rejoice: Beautiful Thomas Jefferson Medal Comes To Auction
Published on June 9, 2021
Heritage Auctions' June US Coin Sale 1331 brings us a rare opportunity to own a piece of history that combines scarcity, beauty, and a close connection to early American independence.
Heritage Auctions' June US Coin Sale 1331 brings us a rare opportunity to
own a piece of history that combines scarcity, beauty, and a close
connection to early American independence.
From the same collection as the two fabulous Libertas Americana medals that I wrote up in a previous PR Power comes an 1801 Thomas Jefferson Inaugural Medal in silver, one of only about a dozen pieces known to exist in any grade! The 1801 Jefferson Inaugural medal was struck in both silver and white metal to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Jefferson's ascent to the office of the presidency. Jefferson was, of course, the leading author of that document on July 4, 1776, and he passed away 50 years to the day it was signed.
Catalogued by R.W. Julian as PR-2, these 1801 Jefferson medals were produced at the behest of Philadelphia Mint Chief Coiner Henry Voigt, a staunch supporter of Jefferson, and engraved by then-newcomer John Reich of Germany. It is believed that about two dozen pieces exist in silver and white metal combined, with half of those represented by this more exotic metal (silver.)
In the world of medals and exonumia collecting, the silver versions are almost always more valuable than either bronze or white metal due to their typically lower mintages. These pieces also confer the benefits of the beautiful toning that can sometimes form on the surfaces after years of careful storage. That is certainly true of this lovely medal! This early American rarity features deep gunmetal-blue toning over the entire obverse and much of the reverse, which shows added accents of violet and gold patina.
Reich's masterful portrait of Jefferson and his rendering of Minerva, representative of Liberty, holding the Declaration of Independence are fully struck up and free of friction. The medal was likely wiped lightly long ago, with minor hairlines beneath the lovely overlay. They pose no distraction at all. Simply put, the importance and historic nature of this remarkable medallic offering cannot be overstated. We strongly encourage interested parties to bid accordingly.
This medal would have cross-category appeal to Historical/Americana bidders. See more views of this wonderful piece of history here:
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