Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction

The Rouse Collection - Medals
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 1
1781(1783) Libertas Americana Medal in Bronze Betts-615. EF-40. Weight 802.0 grains; diameter 47.8 millimeters. Attractive glossy medium chocolate brown. The surfaces are smooth, void of any hint of corrosion or verdigris. Minor contact marks can be found on both sides, none distracting and all consistent with the grade. Good identifying marks are a light rim bruise over SINE and a small, dull nick on the rim under the 19 at the bottom of the reverse. These medals were commissioned by Benjamin Franklin as a tribute to American independence and were struck in Paris, France, in 1783 (a few in silver and more in bronze). He distributed them to government dignitaries, including members of the Continental Congress. The exact number of medals struck is unknown, but Franklin's intent was to distribute a medal to every member of Congress in addition to other highly placed government officials on both sides of the Atlantic. Dave Bowers estimates the number of surviving bronze medals is between 100 and 125 today. The classic beauty of this famous Liberty Cap design by Augustin Dupre (perhaps with guidance from Franklin himself) is well represented by the lightly circulated example offered here. It has been widely conjectured that the Liberty Cap design used on our first half cents was inspired by the obverse design of the Libertas Americana medal. The similarities are too obvious to ignore, and the argument inspired Ray Rouse to add one of these medals to his half cent collection. But see the following lot for an alternate opinion.
Estimated Value $4,000 - 6,000.
Ex Don Valenziano 11/89.

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Lot 2
1792 French Lyon Convention Medal in Bronze. MS-60. Weight 655.0 grains; diameter 39.0 millimeters. Frosty steel and chocolate with brassy light brown showing through in protected areas. There are a few small spots of darker toning on both sides, and traces of very fine carbon can be found in a few of these spots. The reverse rim was carefully smoothed, possibly after striking to remove a wire edge. Sharply struck. This medal was struck to commemorate the artist's reunion convention held in Lyon, France, in 1792. It is included here with the Ray Rouse half cent collection because this medal may be the REAL model for the Liberty Cap design used for our first half cents. Breen suggested this possibility in his half cent encyclopedia (page 67), and a direct comparison of the designs certainly supports this position. Not only are the Liberty Cap designs more similar, but the wreath design on the reverse is a credible model for the reverse design used on our early half cents, right down to the use of a ribbon tied with a bow to connect the stem ends. We may never know for sure, but the argument in favor of the Lyon medal has a lot going for it. That's why an example is included here. (For a more indepth examination of this issue, see Ray Rouse's article in the July 2008 issue of Penny-Wise, the official newsletter of the Early American Coppers Club.).
Estimated Value $500 - 700.
Ex Ed Hipps 7/89.

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