Colonial History Linked with Four Indian Peace Medals Being Offered in Our February New York Americana Sale

Indian Peace medals are a true tangible link to the history and politics surrounding the relations between the Native American tribes and the governing bodies who made treaties with those tribes. The tradition of awarding medals to important Native Americans began in colonial times, and continued through to 1890. Most collectors are familiar with the silver and bronze medals issued by United States presidents from Washington through Hayes, as these appear on the market with some frequency. Over the years, Stack’s Bowers Galleries has offered major collections, including The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Lucien LaRiviere Collection, and others. Less known, but equally important from a historic and rarity perspective are the medals issued by Great Britain, France, and Spain to Native Americans. Again, Stack’s Bowers is proud to be at the forefront of offering significant holdings of these medals as well, auctioning both The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection and The John W. Adams Collection within the last decade. These two collections brought these obscure medals into the light.

In the 2015 Americana Sale, we have been consigned four pieces from various consignors that represent different types of these important medals.

Lot 17 is a superb example of the George III large size solid silver medal, and is from the period of 1776-1812. Let those dates hit you for a moment. The relationship of Britain and the native tribes cause much consternation for the infant United States. Indian raids on American settlements were sometimes provoked by British agents, just outside the border in what was still British occupied territory.

Lot 18 is a copper bronzed example of the circa 1820 George III Hudson’s Bay Company medal. This interesting medal is represented in our sale by a lovely Mint State example.

Lot 19 is a very rare silver Honos et Virtus medal, circa 1737. This was the last Indian Peace medal type that was issued by the French for their North American land holdings. This piece was worn proudly by the recipient and perhaps later generations of his family, as it is worn to a “Choice Fine” designation. Based on data published by numismatic scholar John W. Adams, and expanded by John Kraljevich, it would appear that perhaps a dozen of these medals are currently accounted for, with nine impounded in museums. This is a newly discovered example and will create quite the stir when it is sold.

Lot 20 is another newly discovered rarity in the field. We are pleased to offer a Spanish Al Merito Y Fidelidad Medal in silver, only the second example known (the other is permanently impounded at the American Numismatic Society). As such it was missing from every important collection of Indian Peace medals offered in the past. For specialists, this is not an opportunity to be missed.

These historically interesting and important numismatic rarities are part of a great selection of medals and tokens being offered in the 2015 Americana Sale. Other important Indian Peace Medals have already been discussed in the following blogs (click the titles to read more), Amazing 15-Piece Gold Lincoln Medallic Set with Unique Gold Lincoln Indian Peace Medal and Newly Discovered Magnificent and Rare Benjamin Harrison Indian Peace Medal in Silver. If you collect important medals and tokens in general, Indian Peace Medals in particular, or are just interested in rarities, be sure to check out these important medals crossing the block during the 2015 Stack’s Bowers Galleries New York Americana Sale.  

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