In recent weeks our Coin Resource Center blog has been devoted to entries on Comitia Americana medals, commissioned by Congress and struck in the 1770s and 1780s to commemorate major victories and successful figures in the American Revolution. These early medals mark a very important period in the history of American medals. This week, we will focus on the medal honoring Horatio Gates’ triumph at Saratoga, New York, a pivotal American victory in the Revolution. Authorized in 1777 and produced and presented nearly a decade later, the Horatio Gates Comitia Americana medal depicts British general John Burgoyne’s surrender to Gates and a bust of the American general.
Gates engaged John Burgoyne’s forces in the Hudson River Valley as they made their way southward from British Canada, planning to meet with northbound forces from New York City and eastbound forces from Lake Ontario. This three-pronged attack sought to control the Hudson Valley and separate New England from the rest of the colonies. Gates’ efforts ultimately halted this plan. Gates won significant victories at Freeman’s Farm and Bemis Heights around Saratoga, New York, forcing Burgoyne’s surrender and stymying British efforts to cut the rebellious colonies apart and gain control of the Hudson Valley. Gates’ victories in Upstate New York also helped secure French/international support for the Revolution. For his success, the Continental Congress awarded him a gold medal, covered in our CRC entry.
Like all of our other the other entries in the CRC, the entry on Horatio Gates Comitia Americana Medals includes a lengthy history of the medal and the events commemorated and links to recent auction appearances and high-quality images. Relevant standard catalog numbers are also included.
The Horatio Gates Comitia Americana medals are listed, sensibly, in the Revolutionary War Period – 1775 to 1782 – subsection of the Early American and Betts Medals, which itself is a subsection of the Numismatic Americana section of the Coin Resource Center.