One of Four Known Silver Charles Stewart U.S.S. Constitution Medals

By Greg Cohen, Numismatist & Consignment Director, U.S. & World Coins; based on the catalog description by John Kraljevich. 

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is pleased to present a wonderful example of this very rare War of 1812 medal, struck to commemorate Charles Stewart’s naval victory on February 20, 1815, while in command of the U.S.S. Constitution. We have had the great honor of offering all four known examples: John J. Ford had two examples, the Naval Historical Foundation example was offered in our Philadelphia Americana Sale in September 2009, and this example, ex. Dreyfuss, which we sold in 1986.

This exceptional medal is described as Choice About Uncirculated and has very strong eye appeal, with somewhat prooflike surfaces and very sharp devices. Minor hairlines from an ancient light cleaning are mostly toned over and do not detract. The die break on the rim is seen as on one of the Ford specimens (one of Ford’s had this die break filed off at the Mint at the time of issue); the Naval Historical Foundation’s specimen was apparently struck before the die broke. Aside from its bold visual appeal, this historic medal has a distinguished pedigree, ex Dreyfuss Collection (Bowers and Merena) April 1986, lot 5335; ex Presidential Coin and Antique Company’s sale of the Ambassador Middendorf Collection, December 1990, lot 25. The lot tags from these important collections are included, along with a plush, velvet lined box.

Historically important, this medal was issued to honor Charles Stewart’s naval actions on February 20, 1815, which actually took place after the Treaty of Ghent was signed, officially ending the War of 1812. Stewart continued to serve in the Naval forces for several decades, even seeing action during the Civil War.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is proud to offer this and hundreds of other medals and tokens from the extensive Charles A. Wharton Collection in our March Baltimore Showcase auction. This fantastic collection follows in the grand traditions of our predecessor firms (Stack’s and Bowers & Merena) in scholarly cataloging of important medals collections. Part III of the Wharton Collection contains important Washingtoniana, the most extensive and impressive array of specimens since our November 2006 sale of the Norweb Collection. If you are a collector of medals and tokens, be sure to get your copy of this important Showcase auction sale catalog by contacting one of our auction services associates.

If, like Mr. Wharton, you have a collection of important medals or tokens, be sure to speak with one of our auction consignment specialists to discuss your holdings. Let the team that worked on the collections of Charles A. Wharton, John J. Ford, the Norweb Family, the Louis Eliasberg Jr. Estate, Lucien LaRiviere, and countless other important “exonumia” collections, catalog your collection. We are currently accepting consignments for our June Baltimore and August official ANA auctions. 

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