A significant rarity in the Betts series, lacking from Garrett, LaRiviere, Bushnell, and nearly other great collection of American medals. Deep golden gray surfaces retain some reflectivity in the fields. Scattered light handling marks are present on both sides, but the detail in the high relief portraits of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Oglethorpe remains crisp. Only insignificant hairlines noted, tiny rim bruise at 7:30 on the side depicting the archbishop. As described by Betts: "This is known as the 'Prize Medal,' having originally been struck for presentation to the writer of the best poem titled 'The Christian Hero.' The obverse was designed to bear the bust of Lady Elizabeth Hastings, but this was prevented by the Lady herself. See Gent. Mag., 1735, p. 778, where an account of the matter is given, and in the same Magazine, November, 1747, is an engraving of the piece. James Edward Oglethorpe was the founder of the Colony of Georgia, so called in honor of the reigning King, George the Second, designed to serve as an asylum for oppressed Protestants from Germany, etc. The first party arrived in January, 1733. This, and his philanthropic efforts for poor debtors in London prisons, made him very popular at that time. The reverse alone has an American allusion." Struck just four years after the foundation of Georgia, this medal alone among Betts medals references the founder of - or anything related to - the southernmost of the original North American colonies of Great Britain. This medal is rare enough that even a cast copy brought $1,265 in our 2002 Americana sale. The two offered in the Ford sale, namely this one and a high grade bronze, appear to be the sole pieces to appear at public sale in the last half century or more.
From the estate of Wayte Raymond; our (Stack's) sale of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part XIII, January 2006, lot 842; and our (Stack's) Philadelphia Americana Sale of September 2009, lot 6027.