A unique American silver medal depicting the presentation of the Declaration of Independence set a new record during Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC’s November 3 and 4 Treasure Auction 32.
The live online and floor auction was itself a record sale for the firm with over $4.27 million sold across 1,622 lots.
The large Proof silver medal was created in 1851 by artist Charles Cushing Wright. It was the only example he struck in silver and has been called Wright’s masterpiece.
On one side, the medal depicts the presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776. Founding Fathers John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin–along with Richard Sherman and Robert R. Livingston on the drafting committee–are shown presenting the draft Declaration to the president of Congress, John Hancock. Of the 47 men present in the entire scene set at Independence Hall, 42 of them were signers of the Declaration of Independence. The design is based heavily upon the famous 1818 painting by John Trumbull that currently hangs in the US Capitol rotunda.
The other side of the medal presents a highlight of formative American historical events from the “DISCOVERY OF NORTH AMERICA BY THE ENGLISH.JLY.3.1497” to “ASSAULT ON QUEBEC BY AMERICANS.DEC.31.1775.” A vignette of Europeans landing on America’s shores as a Native American awaits graces the top of the reverse design. The bottom scene depicts a developed, busy American harbor.
The entire ownership pedigree for this unique medal can be traced dating back to Charles Ira Bushnell (Chapman auction of June 1882, lot 1274); the Garrett Estate (Bowers & Ruddy auction of April 1981, lot 1910); Julian Leidman (Bowers & Merena auction of April 1986, lot 4126); and Charles A. Warton (Stack’s Bowers auction of March 2014, lot 2077), subsequently purchased by numismatist John Adams in the Stack’s Bowers auction of August 2018 (lot 46).
NGC graded the medal as MS 62, though a Specimen designation is more appropriate to describe this unique piece.
The pre-sale estimate for the lot was $25,000 and up. After spirited bidding, both online and via phone, the medal sold for $168,000 USD. Thus, another pedigree for this unique medal has been added – as part of the Resolute Americana Collection.
“We were honored to offer this uniquely American medal at auction and see it sell so well,” said Daniel Frank Sedwick, President and Founder of Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC. “It’s really fitting that the prior owner, John Adams, is himself related to Founding Father John Adams depicted on this medal.”
Shipwreck treasure also saw considerable interest during the auction with many lots surpassing their high estimates.
A unique gold bar recovered from the “Corrigan’s” wreck site of a 1715 Fleet treasure ship at Vero Beach, Florida attracted heavy bidding.
The gold ingot, weighing 915 grams and marked with a fineness of 22k, was made in Colombia before being shipped to Spain in the ill-fated fleet. It bears the royal tax stamp as well as a decorated assayer/foundry stamp (B)ARBACO(A)S indicating its origin from the important Colombian gold mining town, Barbacoas. Salvors recovered the bar in 1983 and, soon after, it went into the collection of 1715 Fleet investor Don Anderson.
With an estimate of $60,000 to $90,000, considerable bidding led to a final sale price of $132,000 for the 1715 Fleet gold bar.
The highest-selling coin lot in the auction was an extremely rare gold Venezuela essai 5 venezolanos dated 1875-A in its first auction appearance ever.
The coin, graded by NGC as Proof 62 Cameo, is one of 10 struck by the Paris Mint for the nation of Venezuela. Only five examples, including this piece, are in private hands. Another four are in museums like the Banco Central in Caracas, Venezuela. The 10th example is buried in the cornerstone of the Simón Bolívar statue by Adamo Tadolini in Plaza Bolívar also in Caracas.
The rarity and importance of this coin in Latin American numismatics sparked a bidding war.
The coin ultimately sold for $78,000 on a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 to $45,000.
Other top lots in the sale include:
- Lima, Peru (State of North Peru), gold 4 escudos, 1838 M, extremely rare, graded NGC AU 53, finest known in NGC census, ex-Hammel, ex-Goodman (lot 1040) sold for $66,000.
- Philippines (under Spain), silver 8 reales, crowned Isabel II “Y.II” countermark (Type VI, 1834-37) on an Argentina (River Plate Provinces), 8 soles, 1815 FL, Potosí mint, graded NGC AU 53, c/s AU standard (lot 1048) sold for $45,000.
- Venezuela (struck at the Paris Mint by Barre), silver essai 1/2 real, 1863 E, graded NGC SP 61 (lot 1114) sold for $45,000.
- Lima, Peru, gold bust 8 escudos, Ferdinand VI, 1758 JP, graded NGC MS 63, ex-Karon, ex-Segarra (lot 1020) sold for $33,600.
- Guanajuato, Mexico, gold 20 pesos, 1872 S, NGC MS 66, finest known in NGC census (lot 1008) sold for $31,200.
- Segovia, Spain, gold 4 excelentes, Ferdinand-Isabel, mintmark at top, denomination Arabic 4 above K at bottom between busts, rare, NGC AU 53 (lot 1065) sold for $26,400.
- Potosí, Bolivia, cob 8 reales Royal (galano), Louis I, 1727 Y, very rare, graded NGC AU details / holed (lot 485) sold for $24,000.
- Seville, Spain, gold milled 8 escudos, Philip V, 1701 M, florets flanking fleece, 8-S-8-M in tressure-dimples, graded NGC MS 65, finest known in NGC census (lot 1080) sold for $22,800.
- Panama, Proof silver 25 centimos, 1904, very rare, graded NGC PF 64 (lot 1015) sold for $21,000.
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Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC’s next Treasure Auction will be held in early May 2023. Interested consignors should contact the company by email at [email protected]. Full auction results are available at auction.sedwickcoins.com.