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    Undated (1800) Washington Funeral Medal
    Skull and Crossbones Type
    Baker-165, GW-71A, AU Details
    One of Two in Gold
    Ex: Edwards-Bushnell-Garrett

    Washington 1800 Funeral Skull Gold -- Cleaned -- NGC Details. AU. Baker-165, Fuld 2-A2, Musante GW-71A. Three major varieties of the Washington funeral medals exist: those with G.W. on an urn, those with G.W. below the urn, and those without an urn but showing a skull and crossbones. All three were struck by skilled engraver, medallist, and inventor Jacob Perkins of Newburyport, Massachusetts, for mourners attending funeral processions in Boston after the December 14, 1799, death of President George Washington. Both Washington and Perkins were Freemasons, and this Skull and Crossbones variety was struck specifically for the procession conducted by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on February 11, 1800, which would have been Washington's 68th birthday according the Julian calendar, per Neil Musante.
    The obverse features a left-facing profile of Washington surrounded by a laurel wreath with HE IS IN GLORY, THE WORLD IN TEARS. around the border. The reverse reads B. FEB. 11. 1732. GEN. AM. ARMIES, 1775. / RE. 1783, PRES. U.S. AM. '89. R. '96. / GEN. ARM. U.S. AM. '98. / OB. D. 15. '99. A skull and crossbones appears at 6 o'clock. Two different die varieties are known. This one features the 7 in 1783 pointing to the middle of the N below, among other small differences. As with the other Washington Funeral medals, the Skull and Crossbones type is known in silver, copper, white metal, and gold, with the latter being the rarest by far. Only two examples are known, both from this die pair: the present AU Details piece and the Norweb-Partrick example in MS63 that brought $276,000 as part of our January 2021 Platinum sale.

    Writing of this medal's first public auction appearance in March 1865, W. Elliot Woodward commented: "This beautiful piece was purchased from Dr. F.S. Edwards, of N.Y. City, who guarantees it in every particular... ." At that time, Woodward believed that "but four specimens are known." Given the two traced today, it is possible that he was either mistaken or that the two other examples have since been lost. By 1981, the Garrett cataloger knew of only two gold medals and wrote: "Not even a whisper of another piece has been learned." In that last appearance four decades ago, this medal was described as "sharp Extremely Fine" and "A superb piece." It was pointed out that it appears to be struck over a Spanish 4 escudos gold piece of Charles III or IV, with evidence of undertype visible. Yellow-gold surfaces are lightly hairlined, but the devices remain bold and eye appeal is terrific, matching its undeniable historical significance and absolute rarity.
    Ex: Sixth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliott Woodward, 3/1865), lot 3290; Charles Ira Bushnell (S.H. and H. Chapman, 6/1882), lot 1313; T. Harrison Garrett; John Work Garrett; Johns Hopkins University; Garrett Collection, Part IV (Bowers and Ruddy, 4/1981), lot 1802; Donald G. Partrick.

    View all of [The Donald G. Partrick Collection ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2021
    22nd-25th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 24
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 358

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