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1779 (i.e. 1875?) John Paul Jones / HMS Serapis vs Bonhomme Richard medal. Julian NA-1. Bronze, 57 mm. MS-66 (NGC). Philadelphia Mint copy dies.

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1779 (i.e. 1875?) John Paul Jones / HMS Serapis vs Bonhomme Richard medal. Julian NA-1. Bronze, 57 mm. MS-66 (NGC). Philadelphia Mint copy dies.

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Details

1779 (i.e. 1875?) John Paul Jones / HMS Serapis vs Bonhomme Richard medal. Julian NA-1, Betts-568. Bronze, 57 mm. MS-66 (NGC). Philadelphia Mint copy dies. A long mis-understood and rare issue of the Philadelphia Mint. As the grade offered by NGC would indicate, the surface quality and eye appeal are magnificent, with dark chocolate devices contrasting boldly with smooth and glossy mahogany fields. Only the barest little flecks are seen under a glass. The central design elements are clearly hubbed from an original medal, struck at the Paris Mint from dies by Dupre, but the font is more modern and the fields do not show the reflectivity-inducing basining of the earlier dies. Julian mentions that Mint Director Pollock obtained 25 French-struck medals to sell to American collectors, but when these ran out in 1863 "a pair of gunmetal dies was then made from one of the French medals. ... Although it is obvious that this pair of gunmetal dies did not last forever, the date for a new pair of dies, regularly made, is not known at present." This is struck from that "new pair of dies, regularly made." The gunmetal dies exactly duplicated the Dupre dies, but have a different texture and finish; they developed a large cud in the upper left reverse rather quickly and likely did not survive very long. The mintage records reflect that 25 were struck in 1863; these were certainly the gunmetal dies, hubbed entirely from a struck medal coined in Paris. Another 25 were struck in 1868; these were probably also from the gunmetal dies of 1863. Then, despite nearly every other naval medal (and Comitia Americana series medal whose dies were at the Mint) being restruck in the interval, no more John Paul Jones medals were struck until 1875, when 10 more bronze specimens were produced. Another 10 in bronze were struck in fiscal 1876/77, and 20 more came off the dies in 1880/81 when the previous 10 were exhausted. Two more bronze came in 1884/85, another four in 1896/97, then 22 more between 1900 and 1904. I would guess that these dies were produced ca. 1875. The very similar Henry Lee copy reverse, using the same font, is known to have been produced in 1874. That would put a verified mintage from these dies at just 68 pieces, which is in line with its rarity today. Though John Paul Jones is recorded under just one Julian number, that single attribution number includes the pieces struck in Paris from Dupre's dies (used through at least the 1870s), the US Mint gunmetal dies, and these US Mint copy dies, not to mention the later Paris Mint copies and 20th century US Mint strikings as well. The Dupre dies, particularly in their marked-edge restrike form (1845 to 1860 with the pointing hand edge mark being the most common), are far more common than this American-made medal. This beautiful example is the first I've had in quite some time.

Additional Information

Grading Service NGC
Grade MS66
Designation N/A
Mint Location Philadelphia
Strike Type Business
Circulated/Uncirc Uncirculated
Grade Add On No
SKU or Cert # 9071

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Description

Details

1779 (i.e. 1875?) John Paul Jones / HMS Serapis vs Bonhomme Richard medal. Julian NA-1, Betts-568. Bronze, 57 mm. MS-66 (NGC). Philadelphia Mint copy dies. A long mis-understood and rare issue of the Philadelphia Mint. As the grade offered by NGC would indicate, the surface quality and eye appeal are magnificent, with dark chocolate devices contrasting boldly with smooth and glossy mahogany fields. Only the barest little flecks are seen under a glass. The central design elements are clearly hubbed from an original medal, struck at the Paris Mint from dies by Dupre, but the font is more modern and the fields do not show the reflectivity-inducing basining of the earlier dies. Julian mentions that Mint Director Pollock obtained 25 French-struck medals to sell to American collectors, but when these ran out in 1863 "a pair of gunmetal dies was then made from one of the French medals. ... Although it is obvious that this pair of gunmetal dies did not last forever, the date for a new pair of dies, regularly made, is not known at present." This is struck from that "new pair of dies, regularly made." The gunmetal dies exactly duplicated the Dupre dies, but have a different texture and finish; they developed a large cud in the upper left reverse rather quickly and likely did not survive very long. The mintage records reflect that 25 were struck in 1863; these were certainly the gunmetal dies, hubbed entirely from a struck medal coined in Paris. Another 25 were struck in 1868; these were probably also from the gunmetal dies of 1863. Then, despite nearly every other naval medal (and Comitia Americana series medal whose dies were at the Mint) being restruck in the interval, no more John Paul Jones medals were struck until 1875, when 10 more bronze specimens were produced. Another 10 in bronze were struck in fiscal 1876/77, and 20 more came off the dies in 1880/81 when the previous 10 were exhausted. Two more bronze came in 1884/85, another four in 1896/97, then 22 more between 1900 and 1904. I would guess that these dies were produced ca. 1875. The very similar Henry Lee copy reverse, using the same font, is known to have been produced in 1874. That would put a verified mintage from these dies at just 68 pieces, which is in line with its rarity today. Though John Paul Jones is recorded under just one Julian number, that single attribution number includes the pieces struck in Paris from Dupre's dies (used through at least the 1870s), the US Mint gunmetal dies, and these US Mint copy dies, not to mention the later Paris Mint copies and 20th century US Mint strikings as well. The Dupre dies, particularly in their marked-edge restrike form (1845 to 1860 with the pointing hand edge mark being the most common), are far more common than this American-made medal. This beautiful example is the first I've had in quite some time.

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service NGC
Grade MS66
Designation N/A
Mint Location Philadelphia
Strike Type Business
Circulated/Uncirc Uncirculated
Grade Add On No
SKU or Cert # 9071

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Listed below are blog articles related to this product listing, if applicable:

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