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Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio   |   The August 2018 ANA Auction   |   22 August 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
Online bidding ends:  22 August 2018 15:00 CEST (Session 10)   |   Closed (Session 2)   |   Closed (Session 3)   |   17 August 2018 15:00 CEST (Session 6)   |   17 August 2018 23:00 CEST (Session 7)   |   20 August 2018 15:00 CEST (Session 8)   |   21 August 2018 15:00 CEST (Session 9)

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Session 2, Lot 47





Estimate: 12'500 USD   |   Starting price: 1 USD Online bidding closed
Washingtoniana
Rare Washington Letter to Hamilton Medal in Silver
The Garrett Family Specimen
Undated (ca. 1864) Letter to Hamilton Medal. Silver. 58.6 mm. 124.0 grams. Musante GW-675, Baker-257, Musante JAB-11. MS-63 (PCGS).
Offered is an outstanding example of this famous medal from John Adams Bolen's shop, in the most desirable metal available for the issue. It was reported by Bolen that just five examples were struck in silver, though Edward Cogan later reported that the number was eight. There is uncertainty about who actually struck these pieces, but it seems that Dr. Frank Smith Edwards was involved for at least five, if not all. A few examples ended up in the collection of Bolen himself, even though it is unclear as to whether they were struck by his hand. Silver copies are typically well hairlined and handled. Some light hairlines are seen on the present piece but, in general, it is superior to those seen in recent times. The fields are boldly reflective, the motifs crisply defined. Lovely iridescent violet, blue and russet toning complements the surfaces, but with generous pearl gray silver showing through on both sides. This example is considerably heavier than lot 123 in our February 2014 Americana Sale, which weighed just 77.5 grams, and is noticeably thicker. It also displays clear evidence of multiple strikes. There were at least three blows of the dies, and perhaps even four used to produce the full relief of this piece. It is probable for a medal of this size that all were struck more than once, but this especially thick example may have required more work to move the larger volume of metal fully into the recesses of the dies. Some Letter to Hamilton medals display a small obverse die crack which is not present on this medal, guaranteeing it to be an earlier striking. Of course, the sequence cannot be determined further, and with so few made it is not really significant except to say that this one was made earlier than others known. If some were struck by Bolen and later examples by Edwards, this one has a good chance of being a Bolen "original." Still, no formal distinctions of this nature are made by collectors.

According to Musante, the portrait of Washington here was originally rendered by Nathanial Fullerton in 1776, which inspired an engraving by G.G. Smith from which the Bolen engraving was taken. The dies were engraved in 1864 and seem to have been sold to Dr. Edwards shortly after preparation. Edward Cogan owned the dies later but they were reported in a 1905 account by Bolen to have been "ruined by rust." In cataloging the MacKenzie Collection in 1869, Cogan wrote that eight had been struck in silver, and as Neil Musante has accounted for six distinct ones in his study of survivors, it is believed that eight is the correct number of silver examples originally made. A prize among Bolen's works, and the largest struck medal he is credited with, this impressive rarity will appeal to advanced Washingtoniana enthusiasts.
PCGS# 528687.

From the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation. Earlier ex Garrett Family Collection; our (Bowers and Ruddy's) sale of the Garrett Collection for the Johns Hopkins University, Part IV, March 1981, part of lot 1824; our (Stack's) sale of the Gilbert Steinberg Collection, May 1992, lot 106; our (Stack's) sale of the Fairfax Collection of Washington Medals, May 1993, lot 120; our sale of the Charles A. Wharton Collection, March 2014, lot 2181.

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