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Very Rare 1844 Henry Clay Medal, ex. A. Ramsey McCoy (Elder, 1918)

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Very Rare 1844 Henry Clay Medal, ex. A. Ramsey McCoy (Elder, 1918)

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Details

1844 Henry Clay / Baltimore Convention medal. DeWitt HC 1844-4. Gilt White Metal, 42 mm. MS-62 (NGC). An important example of this rare and finely executed medal, accomplished and signed by Francis Mitchell of Boston. The DeWitt plate piece is holed and very worn; this one is neither. Aside from the two examples gathered in the Ford holdings, which creamed the best political material offered from the late 19th century into the 1940s, we find no specimen offered publicly since Presidential Coin and Antique's McSorley I sale of 1997. That piece brought $462 nearly 20 years ago. The similar DeWitt HC 1844-5 variety, which lacks the Mitchell signature and includes ca. 1860 restrikes from those dies, is also scarce but comes to market much more frequently, including a specimen in McSorley II (1998), three in PCAC 77 (2007), and another one in PCAC 81 (2011). This original variety appears to have only been struck in 1844.

The portrait is easily the finest Clay bust used in this election. It was recycled later for use on a Clay memorial medal. This example is likely among the finest known from these dies, with lustrous and delicately toned yellow gold surfaces that show the undermetal only on the very highest points of the high relief bust. Both sides are flashy, showing only some barely discernible hairlines as a defect. The reverse device is well-defined, showing a surface setting over Western mountains with various signs of American wealth in the foreground: a sailing ship, gathered grains, a plow, and more. The Baltimore Convention referenced is the one that nominated Clay as the Whig candidate for President. Ironically enough, the so-called "Young Men's Convention" nominated Clay, aged 67 and 20 years removed from his first major party nomination. 

This piece comes with a tiny pencilled ticket from the collector A. Ramsey McCoy, brother of numismatist John F. McCoy. While John's collection was sold at auction in 1864 by W. Elliot Woodward, brother Ramsey continued to pursue collecting political medalets. In 1868, Joseph N.T. Levick identified his collection as "the most perfect and complete collection of National or Political tokens, in all metals, in the country. In these he stands foremost." His collection was eventually sold by Thomas Elder in 1918, at which point many of his choicest specimens were acquired by F.C.C. Boyd. They remained in Boyd's collection until the collection was acquired, intact, from his estate by John J. Ford, Jr. Thus, when the Ford collection sold in 2013, this piece hadn't been sold publicly since 1918, and has a traceable provenance as far back as the 1860s! The paper ticket notes "1st seen with 'Mitchell' / V. rare." If the foremost political collector in the country hadn't seen one of this variety before, how rare must they be?

Additional Information

Grading Service NGC
Grade MS62
Designation N/A
Mint Location No
Strike Type No
Circulated/Uncirc No
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 2604040003

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

Description

Details

1844 Henry Clay / Baltimore Convention medal. DeWitt HC 1844-4. Gilt White Metal, 42 mm. MS-62 (NGC). An important example of this rare and finely executed medal, accomplished and signed by Francis Mitchell of Boston. The DeWitt plate piece is holed and very worn; this one is neither. Aside from the two examples gathered in the Ford holdings, which creamed the best political material offered from the late 19th century into the 1940s, we find no specimen offered publicly since Presidential Coin and Antique's McSorley I sale of 1997. That piece brought $462 nearly 20 years ago. The similar DeWitt HC 1844-5 variety, which lacks the Mitchell signature and includes ca. 1860 restrikes from those dies, is also scarce but comes to market much more frequently, including a specimen in McSorley II (1998), three in PCAC 77 (2007), and another one in PCAC 81 (2011). This original variety appears to have only been struck in 1844.

The portrait is easily the finest Clay bust used in this election. It was recycled later for use on a Clay memorial medal. This example is likely among the finest known from these dies, with lustrous and delicately toned yellow gold surfaces that show the undermetal only on the very highest points of the high relief bust. Both sides are flashy, showing only some barely discernible hairlines as a defect. The reverse device is well-defined, showing a surface setting over Western mountains with various signs of American wealth in the foreground: a sailing ship, gathered grains, a plow, and more. The Baltimore Convention referenced is the one that nominated Clay as the Whig candidate for President. Ironically enough, the so-called "Young Men's Convention" nominated Clay, aged 67 and 20 years removed from his first major party nomination. 

This piece comes with a tiny pencilled ticket from the collector A. Ramsey McCoy, brother of numismatist John F. McCoy. While John's collection was sold at auction in 1864 by W. Elliot Woodward, brother Ramsey continued to pursue collecting political medalets. In 1868, Joseph N.T. Levick identified his collection as "the most perfect and complete collection of National or Political tokens, in all metals, in the country. In these he stands foremost." His collection was eventually sold by Thomas Elder in 1918, at which point many of his choicest specimens were acquired by F.C.C. Boyd. They remained in Boyd's collection until the collection was acquired, intact, from his estate by John J. Ford, Jr. Thus, when the Ford collection sold in 2013, this piece hadn't been sold publicly since 1918, and has a traceable provenance as far back as the 1860s! The paper ticket notes "1st seen with 'Mitchell' / V. rare." If the foremost political collector in the country hadn't seen one of this variety before, how rare must they be?

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service NGC
Grade MS62
Designation N/A
Mint Location No
Strike Type No
Circulated/Uncirc No
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 2604040003

Related Blog Article(s)

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

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