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Coin Resource Center Includes Entry on the John Paul Jones Comitia Americana Medal

Over the past weeks, this blog has focused on the Coin Resource Center’s entries on Comitia Americana medals, awarded by the U.S. Congress to celebrate significant victories in the Revolutionary War. This week, we’ll be examining the Comitia Americana Medal awarded to John Paul Jones for his naval exploits, specifically his seizure of a large British merchant fleet and the warships HMS Serapis and Queen of Scarborough.

John Paul Jones was a Scottish-born U.S. Navy officer who distinguished himself in command from 1776, scoring several victories in the Caribbean and Central and North Atlantic, capturing a number of British merchant vessels. He operated around the British Isles in 1778 and 1779, drawing on knowledge gained in his pre-Revolution service in the Royal Navy.

When a combined French and Spanish fleet moved towards Britain to draw the Royal Navy away from other theaters, Jones’ small U.S.-French flotilla feinted around Ireland and down the east coast of England. Along the way, he encountered a British merchant fleet protected by two British warships, the HMS Serapis and Queen of Scarborough. After a grueling battle, Jones captured both British vessels at the cost of many of his own men and flagship, and navigated the captured ships to port.  

Congress voted to present Jones with a Congressional gold medal – the Comitia Americana medal – in 1787.

Like other CRC listing of Comitia Americana medals, our entry for the John Paul Jones medal describes its honoree’s achievements, the authorizing resolution, and a detailed history of the medal’s design and execution. Links to recent auction appearances and high-quality Coin in Motion animations round it out.

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