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Ex Bushnell (1882) Baron Von Steuben Medal in Silver, One of Three Struck

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Ex Bushnell (1882) Baron Von Steuben Medal in Silver, One of Three Struck

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Details

(ca. 1878) Major General Baron Steuben medal. Silver, 52 mm. Julian PE-32. Choice Mint State. Dies by Frederick B. Smith. Deeply reflective surfaces yield a wealth of pale blue toning, with deeper navy blue tones at the obverse periphery and lighter toning across the reverse. Free of significant marks or flaws, just some very light blended hairlines under the fine toning. A very rare medal, with Julian reporting that "three silver and twenty-five bronze were struck for numismatist J. Colvin Randall in January, 1878." According to Julian, the dies were also used outside the Mint because examples of this medal appear at auctions prior to 1878. While this may be true, Carl Carlson found just two auction records for this medal in silver between its striking and 1985, when he valued it at $800. One of those records was in the 1882 Bushnell sale, as Lot 1697, where this medal was catalogued as "Original, just one or two known of the originals." This precise piece appears to be the Bushnell specimen; I acquired it privately from a collection formed in the 1950s, along with an invoice from John Ford at New Netherlands Coin Company dated September 13, 1957 listing this piece as "Steuben AR, Bushnell 1697" at $15. The same invoice included another piece ex Bushnell, a choice silver 1826 Erie Canal medal (at $20), one of two silver 1871 David Rittenhouse US Mint medals struck (at $10), in addition to other Betts and US Mint rarities. Why would Ford sell the Bushnell specimen of this rare medal if the mintage was just three pieces? He had the Virgil Brand specimen in stock, which sold in 2005's Ford VII sale, undercatalogued and unappreciated (it was not mentioned to be a US Mint medal listed in Julian, nor was its rarity noted). That piece, like this one, showed filing on its reverse rim cuds. The design of this medallic portrait of the man who drilled the volunteers at Valley Forge was inspired by a drawing from life by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere. (J. Colvin Randall was a noted collector of prints, and likely owned one of the early engraved renditions of the Baron Von Steuben portrait.) While bronze examples do turn up from time to time (though they remain very scarce), this appears to be the only example in silver to turn up in modern times aside from the Ford specimen.

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade RAW
Designation N/A
Mint Location No
Strike Type No
Circulated/Uncirc No
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 11025

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Description

Details

(ca. 1878) Major General Baron Steuben medal. Silver, 52 mm. Julian PE-32. Choice Mint State. Dies by Frederick B. Smith. Deeply reflective surfaces yield a wealth of pale blue toning, with deeper navy blue tones at the obverse periphery and lighter toning across the reverse. Free of significant marks or flaws, just some very light blended hairlines under the fine toning. A very rare medal, with Julian reporting that "three silver and twenty-five bronze were struck for numismatist J. Colvin Randall in January, 1878." According to Julian, the dies were also used outside the Mint because examples of this medal appear at auctions prior to 1878. While this may be true, Carl Carlson found just two auction records for this medal in silver between its striking and 1985, when he valued it at $800. One of those records was in the 1882 Bushnell sale, as Lot 1697, where this medal was catalogued as "Original, just one or two known of the originals." This precise piece appears to be the Bushnell specimen; I acquired it privately from a collection formed in the 1950s, along with an invoice from John Ford at New Netherlands Coin Company dated September 13, 1957 listing this piece as "Steuben AR, Bushnell 1697" at $15. The same invoice included another piece ex Bushnell, a choice silver 1826 Erie Canal medal (at $20), one of two silver 1871 David Rittenhouse US Mint medals struck (at $10), in addition to other Betts and US Mint rarities. Why would Ford sell the Bushnell specimen of this rare medal if the mintage was just three pieces? He had the Virgil Brand specimen in stock, which sold in 2005's Ford VII sale, undercatalogued and unappreciated (it was not mentioned to be a US Mint medal listed in Julian, nor was its rarity noted). That piece, like this one, showed filing on its reverse rim cuds. The design of this medallic portrait of the man who drilled the volunteers at Valley Forge was inspired by a drawing from life by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere. (J. Colvin Randall was a noted collector of prints, and likely owned one of the early engraved renditions of the Baron Von Steuben portrait.) While bronze examples do turn up from time to time (though they remain very scarce), this appears to be the only example in silver to turn up in modern times aside from the Ford specimen.

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade RAW
Designation N/A
Mint Location No
Strike Type No
Circulated/Uncirc No
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 11025

Related Blog Article(s)

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

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