Plain edge. 1510.9 grains. A superb example of this historic Comitia Americana medal, struck at the Philadelphia Mint “as a proof from polished dies,” according to Michael Hodder, a contrast with the more matte-like bronzed look of most examples of this medal. Gem quality luster shines forth from delicately toned medium brown surfaces, showcasing a wealth of violet, blue, and gold under a light source. About as choice and original as we have ever seen a Gates, with no bad marks, hairlines, or rim damage. A tiny natural planchet flaw is present far under RI of AMERICANA , where the exergual field meets the raised rim. The rim cud below 9 o'clock on the reverse was extremely carefully filed at the mint, as was the fashion, and nicked the corner of one cannonball. Most Comitia Americana medals with rim cuds show them filed, but this one was prepared far more neatly than most. The detail in Gatteaux's die is superb, fully realized by the US Mint, who controlled these dies after 1801. Two tiny spots are noted, one between OR of HORATIO and the other near 12 o'clock.
Struck as part of the famed Comitia Americana series, authorized by the Continental Congress, the Gates at Saratoga medal marks the battle that was the turning point in the war. French backing was only secured after Burgoyne surrendered in upstate New York, and Gates became the hero of the day. His gold medal, the only one struck, is one of the numismatic highlights of the collections of the New-York Historical Society. Silver examples are nearly as rare; Adams and Bentley note only the example impounded in Vienna, the one in George Washington's set at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the piece sold in the Dreyfuss sale. Bronzes sell regularly, but almost never in this kind of beautiful condition, particularly so prooflike. This medal would highlight any collection of the Comitia Americana series.
From the Collection of Jim Jones. Earlier, acquired from New Netherlands Coin Company on January 13, 1969; from our (Stack's) sale of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part XIV, May 2006, Lot 194 (ticket included).