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Underappreciated 1861 Baltimore Riots Medal

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Underappreciated 1861 Baltimore Riots Medal

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1861 Winfield Scott / Baltimore Riots medal. White metal, 64 mm. Choice Mint State. 6.5 mm thick. A rare and impressive medal struck at the dawn of the Civil War, when Winfield Scott was the presumptive commander of Union forces. Featuring an anepigraphic obverse portrait die of Winfield Scott, stolen directly from C.C. Wright's Winfield Scott medal for the Mexican War, the reverse of this medal draws a comparison between April 19, 1775, the date of the battles of Lexington and Concord, and April 19, 1861, the date of the Baltimore Riot, often-considered the first mortal conflict of the Civil War. The medal refers to the date of Lexington and Concord with the word "Liberty," while the date of the Baltimore Riot (also known as the Pratt Street Riots) is termed "Union." The medal was clearly struck to appeal to Unionist sentiment, with an abundance of phrases such as "All Hail to the Stars and Stripes!" and "One Flag, One County" surrounding a central Union shield. Considering that the Robert Anderson / Fort Sumter and Adam Slemmer / Fort Pickens medals were produced as electrotypes, this medal should likely considered the first struck medal of the Civil War.

This medal has never been catalogued in a major reference; it was omitted from Dewitt's work on campaign and political medals, and does not fit the criteria to be included in Julian on US Mint medals or many other oft-cited standard references. Regardless, this is one of the most important of all Civil War medals, struck when the "war" had barely begun, when Scott (who would be sacked after the disaster at First Manassas) was still the highest ranking Union general. In fact, the day after the Baltimore Riot was the day Scott's junior officer, Robert E. Lee, wrote to Scott to resign his commission.

When this medal is encountered, it is often well-battered and corroded. This piece is bright and lustrous, with deeply reflective fields on both sides. A tiny bit of corrosion is noted at 17 of 1775, and two smaller specks are seen on the high raised rim above ALL near 10:00. The rims are perfect, and despite some minor scattered hairlines, no marks are seen in the wide-open fields. A few minor abrasions are seen on Scott's cheek.

D. Wayne Johnson points out that this medal is an important historical footnote as the very first medal to ever have its design copyrighted (ironic, considering the obverse is a straight-up bootleg of the US Mint-struck C.C. Wright Winfield Scott medal known as Julian MI-26). The "artists" who signed this medal, C.G. Quilfeldt and J. Lebreton, are not known to have worked on any other medals. The Charles G. De Quilfeldt who was arrested for counterfeiting in Tennessee in 1881 may be our C.G. Quilfeldt, but I can't find Mr. Lebreton (or Le Breton, or Le Bretton) anywhere.

A further point of interest: the riots cited on this medal took place directly in front of the Baltimore Convention Center. If you've ever been to the Whitman Expo, you've been to the place where the first bloodshed of the Civil War happened.

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade RAW
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc Not Specified
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 18015

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Description

Details

1861 Winfield Scott / Baltimore Riots medal. White metal, 64 mm. Choice Mint State. 6.5 mm thick. A rare and impressive medal struck at the dawn of the Civil War, when Winfield Scott was the presumptive commander of Union forces. Featuring an anepigraphic obverse portrait die of Winfield Scott, stolen directly from C.C. Wright's Winfield Scott medal for the Mexican War, the reverse of this medal draws a comparison between April 19, 1775, the date of the battles of Lexington and Concord, and April 19, 1861, the date of the Baltimore Riot, often-considered the first mortal conflict of the Civil War. The medal refers to the date of Lexington and Concord with the word "Liberty," while the date of the Baltimore Riot (also known as the Pratt Street Riots) is termed "Union." The medal was clearly struck to appeal to Unionist sentiment, with an abundance of phrases such as "All Hail to the Stars and Stripes!" and "One Flag, One County" surrounding a central Union shield. Considering that the Robert Anderson / Fort Sumter and Adam Slemmer / Fort Pickens medals were produced as electrotypes, this medal should likely considered the first struck medal of the Civil War.

This medal has never been catalogued in a major reference; it was omitted from Dewitt's work on campaign and political medals, and does not fit the criteria to be included in Julian on US Mint medals or many other oft-cited standard references. Regardless, this is one of the most important of all Civil War medals, struck when the "war" had barely begun, when Scott (who would be sacked after the disaster at First Manassas) was still the highest ranking Union general. In fact, the day after the Baltimore Riot was the day Scott's junior officer, Robert E. Lee, wrote to Scott to resign his commission.

When this medal is encountered, it is often well-battered and corroded. This piece is bright and lustrous, with deeply reflective fields on both sides. A tiny bit of corrosion is noted at 17 of 1775, and two smaller specks are seen on the high raised rim above ALL near 10:00. The rims are perfect, and despite some minor scattered hairlines, no marks are seen in the wide-open fields. A few minor abrasions are seen on Scott's cheek.

D. Wayne Johnson points out that this medal is an important historical footnote as the very first medal to ever have its design copyrighted (ironic, considering the obverse is a straight-up bootleg of the US Mint-struck C.C. Wright Winfield Scott medal known as Julian MI-26). The "artists" who signed this medal, C.G. Quilfeldt and J. Lebreton, are not known to have worked on any other medals. The Charles G. De Quilfeldt who was arrested for counterfeiting in Tennessee in 1881 may be our C.G. Quilfeldt, but I can't find Mr. Lebreton (or Le Breton, or Le Bretton) anywhere.

A further point of interest: the riots cited on this medal took place directly in front of the Baltimore Convention Center. If you've ever been to the Whitman Expo, you've been to the place where the first bloodshed of the Civil War happened.

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade RAW
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc Not Specified
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 18015

Related Blog Article(s)

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

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