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Rare Gunmetal Dies William Washington at Cowpens Medal, Struck at the Philadelphia Mint

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Rare Gunmetal Dies William Washington at Cowpens Medal, Struck at the Philadelphia Mint

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Details

"1781" (Circa 1863) William Washington at Cowpens Medal. Bronze. 45 mm. Struck from the Philadelphia Mint "Gunmetal Dies." Betts-594, Julian MI-8. Plain Edge. Mint State. Attractive and even light brown with subtle cartwheel lustre and hints of gold and pastel blue on the reverse. The surfaces are somewhat textured, rather than showing a bronzed patina or the reflective fields of the Paris Mint strikes, this texture being definitive for pieces from these dies. Some light field marks are noted, none serious. Crumbling is present above UIT of EQUIT on the obverse. These dies were manufactured to meet the growing demand for the Comitia Americana issues in the 1860s, produced in a pinch from soft metal using struck medals sent from Paris as hubs. The dies did not last long, and strikes from them remain scarce today.

Mintages are unknown for the gunmetal dies, but they are a drop in the bucket compared to Paris Mint strikes, either the plain-edged originals (i.e. ones struck before 1842) or the various later varieties with edge markings. In the mid 19th century, when medals were becoming the most popular numismatic collectible, the US Mint wanted to compete with the Paris Mint's ability to churn out and sell various medals of the Comitia Americana series. The gunmetal strikes, known for the John Paul Jones medal, the Washington Before Boston medal, and the Cowpens medals of William Washington and John Eager Howard, came about when the US Mint couldn't convince Paris to send the original dies and thus crudely hubbed their own dies from struck medals that Paris was nice enough to send. Among other medals in the Comitia Americana series, Nathaniel Greene and DeFleury medals were never restruck from the original dies (though the US Mint made copy dies for both much later), and John Stewart was never restruck or copied at all. Only the obverse of the Philadelphia-made Henry Lee medal survived the 18th century (it was used for restrikes starting in the 1870s, along with a copy reverse). The US Mint had the original dies for the Gates at Saratoga medal after 1801, and they also had the next best thing to original dies for the Morgan at Cowpens medal, namely the Paris Mint made hubbed dies by Barre.

While Julian gives just one number for the William Washington at Cowpens medal, there are really two varieties: the Philadelphia Mint gunmetal dies, as here, and the Paris Mint dies, in all their various manifestations. Since those Paris Mint dies never migrated to Philadelphia like the Morgan at Cowpens or Gates at Saratoga dies, this rare gunmetal variety is really the only way to own a Philadelphia Mint-made Washington at Cowpens.

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade N/A
Designation N/A
Mint Location No
Strike Type No
Circulated/Uncirc No
Grade Add On No
SKU or Cert # 9087

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

Description

Details

"1781" (Circa 1863) William Washington at Cowpens Medal. Bronze. 45 mm. Struck from the Philadelphia Mint "Gunmetal Dies." Betts-594, Julian MI-8. Plain Edge. Mint State. Attractive and even light brown with subtle cartwheel lustre and hints of gold and pastel blue on the reverse. The surfaces are somewhat textured, rather than showing a bronzed patina or the reflective fields of the Paris Mint strikes, this texture being definitive for pieces from these dies. Some light field marks are noted, none serious. Crumbling is present above UIT of EQUIT on the obverse. These dies were manufactured to meet the growing demand for the Comitia Americana issues in the 1860s, produced in a pinch from soft metal using struck medals sent from Paris as hubs. The dies did not last long, and strikes from them remain scarce today.

Mintages are unknown for the gunmetal dies, but they are a drop in the bucket compared to Paris Mint strikes, either the plain-edged originals (i.e. ones struck before 1842) or the various later varieties with edge markings. In the mid 19th century, when medals were becoming the most popular numismatic collectible, the US Mint wanted to compete with the Paris Mint's ability to churn out and sell various medals of the Comitia Americana series. The gunmetal strikes, known for the John Paul Jones medal, the Washington Before Boston medal, and the Cowpens medals of William Washington and John Eager Howard, came about when the US Mint couldn't convince Paris to send the original dies and thus crudely hubbed their own dies from struck medals that Paris was nice enough to send. Among other medals in the Comitia Americana series, Nathaniel Greene and DeFleury medals were never restruck from the original dies (though the US Mint made copy dies for both much later), and John Stewart was never restruck or copied at all. Only the obverse of the Philadelphia-made Henry Lee medal survived the 18th century (it was used for restrikes starting in the 1870s, along with a copy reverse). The US Mint had the original dies for the Gates at Saratoga medal after 1801, and they also had the next best thing to original dies for the Morgan at Cowpens medal, namely the Paris Mint made hubbed dies by Barre.

While Julian gives just one number for the William Washington at Cowpens medal, there are really two varieties: the Philadelphia Mint gunmetal dies, as here, and the Paris Mint dies, in all their various manifestations. Since those Paris Mint dies never migrated to Philadelphia like the Morgan at Cowpens or Gates at Saratoga dies, this rare gunmetal variety is really the only way to own a Philadelphia Mint-made Washington at Cowpens.

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade N/A
Designation N/A
Mint Location No
Strike Type No
Circulated/Uncirc No
Grade Add On No
SKU or Cert # 9087

Related Blog Article(s)

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

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