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Sole Finest Silver Libertas Americana Medal in Stack’s Bowers August Showcase Auction

Sole Finest Silver Libertas Americana Medal in Stack's Bowers August 2024 Global Showcase Auction

By Chris BulfinchNumismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
 

The Libertas Americana medal is legendary. To no one’s surprise, it was #1 in Whitman’s 100 Greatest Medals and Tokens (2007). Its imagery heralds the U.S. victory in the Revolutionary War and France’s vital contributions to that victory. The profile of Liberty on the obverse and the goddess Minerva’s defense of the infant Hercules on the reverse are designs instantly familiar to students of early American numismatic history, reproduced countless times. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is proud to offer the sole finest PCGS-certified original 1783 Libertas Americana medal in silver in the August 2024 Global Showcase Auction.

Libertas Americana medals were designed by French engraver Augustin Dupré and first produced in Paris in 1783. The concept and mottos displayed by this medal are attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who at the time was serving as U.S. commissioner to France. The obverse portrait would later influence some of the first renditions of Liberty to appear on United States coinage, specifically on the Liberty Cap copper coinage and the Flowing Hair silver coinage. The reverse design is highly symbolic, the two serpents representing the American victory over the British at the battles of Saratoga (NY) and Yorktown (VA), but Minerva keeping the British lion at bay confirming that American independence would not have been possible without French aid. The dates in the exergue on the reverse are the dates of the victories over General John Burgoyne at Saratoga and General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown. The original 1783 Libertas Americana medal is known in silver and bronze. Silver examples were presented to members of Congress, King George III’s Government, and other notables and are rarer than the bronze versions.

Cataloged as Adams-Bentley 15, Betts-615, original Libertas Americana medals attract considerable collector attention when they come up for auction. Not only is this Libertas Americana the finest certified by PCGS at MS-64+ but it is also new to the modern market, having been purchased from Stack’s Rare Coins about two decades ago. It sports original surfaces with beautiful toning; the devices display shades of cyan on the obverse and hints of peach along the bottom. Peach hues highlight Minerva and the baby Hercules on the reverse, while pale blue is seen in the fields and electric blue along the edge.

This exceptional piece will be featured in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries August Global Showcase scheduled for August 12-16 and 19-22 in Costa Mesa, California. Lot viewing for the sale will be available at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois on August 4-9. For more information, please contact Stack’s Bowers Galleries by phone at 800-458-4646 or by email at [email protected].

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