Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. will be offering rare Canadian Indian Chief Medals at the Toronto Coin Expo public numismatic auction on September 27 & 28. These historic pieces of Canadian history are not to be missed. Just seeing one can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In early North American history, it became tradition to present respected First Nations chiefs with medals to commemorate a significant event, such as the signing of a treaty or a royal visit. Today, these medals are indeed very rare.
The first medal up for sale is known as Jamieson #36. In 1871, the Dominion of Canada government signed Treaties one and two with the Chippewas and the Crees, acquiring territorial rights in the Province of Manitoba and lands west of Manitoba. In the rush to present medals to the Chiefs, a stock medal was used. It featured Queen Victoria on the obverse and a ring of leaves on the reverse with the center portion blank suitable for engraving. The medal measured 51 mm and because of its small size the Chiefs were not happy as they measured importance by the size of the medal. As a result, several were replaced by a more impressive medal at a later date. This #36 medal seldom enters the market, with one being offered in the 1970 Sotheby’s sale in Montreal as lot 219. It sold for $460, a princely sum in that day. This example is expected to sell for $10,000.
The second medal being offered in this auction, Queen Victoria was asked to come to Montreal in 1860 to officially open the newly constructed Victoria Bridge. She declined but sent her son, the Prince of Wales. The Prince arrived in Newfoundland to speeches, pageantry, parades, and fireworks. This was to be repeated all through the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, and the United States. The native people of Canada saw his visit as a great opportunity to express their loyalty to the Queen through the Prince. They met him at numerous points along the route. Chiefs were presented with silver medals. The medals were passed out in three sizes, 37 mm, 60 mm and 75 mm. The size presented depended on the importance of the Chief. The estimate for this rare piece is set to sell at $20,000.
Like the second medal, this third medal has the same obverse and reverse description, but is the 60 mm version. The finish on the medal is matte as opposed to the shiny surface of the larger medal. The middle size medal rarely comes to the market and is considered the rarest of the three sizes, estimated to realize $30,000.
These rare items and many other interesting coins, tokens and banknotes will be available for viewing by Geoffrey Bell Auction on September 28 & 29, 2017 starting at 10am, at the Toronto Reference Library, located at 789 Yonge Street. The Toronto Coin Expo is Canada’s premier coin & banknote show and auction. The public is invited to the bourse floor where 50+ dealer tables will be offering coins, medals, tokens and banknotes from Canada and the world. For full information, please visit www.torontocoinexpo.ca.
For more information contact Jared Stapleton at [email protected].