World Coins

1877 Canadian silver Treaty medal sells in auction

A silver Canadian Treaty medal for Treaty No. 7 realized about $61,000 U.S. in an April 22 auction in Canada.

Images courtesy of the Canadian Numismatic Company.

An important silver medal for Canadian First Nations people sold April 22 in The Canadian Numismatic Company’s Prominence X auction in Quebec City.

The 1877 Indian Treaty No. 7 silver medal realized $83,650 Canadian ($60,920 U.S.), including the 19.5% buyer’s fee against a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 Canadian ($21,838 U.S.)

Treaty 7 is an agreement between the Crown and several (mainly Blackfoot) First Nation band governments in what is today the southern portion of Alberta.

The idea of developing treaties for Blackfoot lands was brought to Blackfoot chief Crowfoot by John McDougall in 1875.

The written treaty ceded roughly 130,000 square kilometers of land from the Rocky Mountains to the west, the Cypress Hills to the east, the Red Deer River to the north, and the U.S. border to the south.

This medal was offered on behalf of Queen Victoria to the 8 Nations Leaders who signed the treaty.

Importance of treaty medal

Treaty medals were gifts presented to chiefs who entered into treaties in exchange for various goods and indigenous rights to hunting, fishing and natural resources on reserve lands. The medals offered a lasting visual reminder to all the participants of their treaty commitments.

The 1877 silver medal is an extremely scarce and historically important Canadian medal representing a treaty with the following nations: The Bearspaw, The Blood, Chiniki, Piikani, Siksika, Stoney, Tsuu T’Ina & The Wesley Nations.

The medal weighs 205 grams and measures 76 millimeters in diameter.

Queen Victoria, crowned and veiled facing left, appears on the obverse of the medal.

The reverse carries a scene of a commissioner of the second rank standing, facing right, shaking hands with a First Nations man facing left in full dress against a view of tepees and a rising sun.

This is the firm’s at least second auction of a Treaty medal, as it sold a Treaty No. 4 medal in July 2023, which realized $113,525 Canadian.

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