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Libertas Americana Medal, MS62
Struck in Silver, Original Dies

(1781) Libertas Americana Medal, Silver MS62 PCGS Secure. CAC. Betts-615, Loubat-14. Original Dies. When Whitman published 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens, nobody was surprised to see the famous Libertas Americana medal ranked #1. It is difficult to overstate the influence that the medal had on U.S. coinage, especially on the 1793 Liberty Cap half cent.

Benjamin Franklin conceived the medal in 1782 while serving in Paris as the first U.S. Ambassador to France. A sketch was made by Antoine Gibelin, and Augustin Dupré (1748-1833) served as engraver. Struck at the Paris Mint. The obverse date, July 4, 1776, is obviously that of the American Declaration of Independence. The reverse dates, October 17, 1777 and October 19, 1781, respectively represent the British surrenders at Saratoga and York.
The obverse motif is a representation of American Liberty with a Phrygian cap and pole symbolic of freedom over her right shoulder. The reverse features France (as Minerva) shielding America (as the infant Hercules) from England (as an aggressive lion). Though yet a baby, Hercules participates in his defense by strangling two serpents. The legend translates as "The courageous child is not without the aid of the gods."

Fewer than 60 were struck in silver. In their exhaustive census, Adams and Bentley were able to locate 22 examples in silver, including a number housed in museum collections. Most survivors show light wear from non-numismatic handling, but the present piece has virtually full detail. The golden-brown and powder-blue surfaces show only incidental hairlines. Population: 4 in 62, 2 finer (1/14). (NGC ID# 284D, PCGS# 151000)

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Auction Dates
Feb-Mar, 2014
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