US Coins

Historic Libertas Americana medal in expo auction

Medals remain a rich area ripe with opportunity for numismatists. Stack’s Bowers Galleries offered a deep selection of bronze medals in Baltimore as part of its Nov. 8 to 14 auctions presented as the official auctioneer of the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo. As information on medals becomes more available to collectors, prices are creeping up for both classic medals and more modern issues. Here is one of three that sold in Baltimore, each showcasing a different facet of the higher-end medal market.

The Lot:

1781-dated bronze Libertas Americana medal, Mint State 64 brown, with CAC sticker

The Price:


The Story:

The 1781-dated Libertas Americana medal remains the most famous American medal, and its appeal only grows with both medal collectors and early U.S. coin collectors. It occupies the top spot in Katherine Jaeger’s and Q. David Bowers’ book The 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens, and examples in all grades move up in price each year.

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The 47-millimeter medals were struck in Paris in 1782 to celebrate peace after America emerged victorious over Britain in the Revolutionary War. As Stack’s Bowers writes, “The Libertas Americana medal was to be symbolic of the winning of American liberty, not only on the battlefields of the New World but also in the courts of Europe, most particularly that of France.”

Want to be an ‘early bird’? Buy a badge”Want to be an ‘early bird’? Buy a badge at your next coin show and gain early bourse access. Also this week, John Wexler tracks down the rare 1970-S Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse #1 cent.

Augustin Dupré‘s Liberty, with her flowing hair and cap, would directly influence the designs of the first coins produced by the Philadelphia Mint. An estimated 100 to 125 examples are known, and this one is especially nice, with rich chestnut brown surfaces. Graded Mint State 64 brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and given a green sticker by Certified Acceptance Corp., it sold for $51,600. The lot after it in the auction, a different example graded About Uncirculated 55 by PCGS, sold for $15,600.

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