Heritage Auctions, Inc.   |   Sale #1283   |   10 November 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 15010

Estimate: -   |   Starting price: 1 USD Price realized: 36'000 USD
(1781) Medal Libertas Americana Medal MS64 Brown NGC. Betts-615, Loubat-14. It is safe to say that most British loyalists were not pleased by either the design or the intent of Benjamin Franklin's Libertas Americana medal, which extolled the role France played in the American War of Independence while chiding the British for their humiliating defeats at Yorktown and Saratoga. There was no mistaking the symbolic imagery of Minerva (France) protecting the infant Hercules (America) from a rampaging lion (England), while the precocious infant strangled a pair of serpents (Burgoyne and Cornwallis). Meanwhile, dignitaries in France and America could not have been more delighted with the message and the impressive artistry of the medal. Based on a sketch by Esprit-Antoine Gibelin and engraved by Augustin Dupré, the medal was struck at the Paris Mint circa 1781. Page 102 of the 2019 Guide Book estimates that no more than 100 to 125 original bronze medals survive, plus two dozen or slightly more silver pieces. This near-Gem bronze example exhibits even, chocolate-brown surfaces with nearly unmarked, well-preserved, and partially reflective surfaces. A small die defect at the border below the 4 in the date of the obverse exergue confirms this piece as an original strike. Traces of die rust, as struck, are diagnostic of the original medals. The Libertas Americana medal ranks #1 by a wide margin in Jaeger and Bowers' 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.HID05401242017

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