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101997 | UNITED STATES & GREAT BRITAIN. Peace of Versailles white metal Medal.

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    101997  |  UNITED STATES & GREAT BRITAIN. Treaty of Paris/Peace of Versailles white metal Medal. Issued 1783. Commemorating the end of the American Revolution (42mm, 26.39 g, 12h). By J. Reich.


    SIC HOSTES CONCORDIA INVGIT AMICOS (thus concord unites enemies as friends), allegory of Peace standing right, holding olive branch and clasping hands with allegory of America standing left, holding cap on pole; behind Peace is the shield of the Netherlands, behind America is the shield of the 13 colonies; between them are the shields of Great Britain (as the Irish harp), Spain (castle), and France (three lis); in background to left, bombardment from Port Mahón; in background to right, bombardment from Gibraltar; radiant Eye of Providence above; in exergue, PRVDENTIA & FATIS (by prudence and the fates), veduta intended to represent Paris, where the treaty was signed / ENSIBVS EX MARTIS LVX PACIS LÆTA RESVRGIT (from the swords of Mars, the joyful light of peace shall rise again), allegory of Peace standing slightly left, holding olive branch and cornucopia, and trampling upon fallen Mars (representing war), with broken sword; in background to right, bombardment from Gibraltar; to upper left, radiant sun with angel flying right, holding wreath and trumpeting the words FIAT PAX (let there be peace); in exergue, OPE VULCANI (by the aid of Vulcan [i.e., through hard labor and industry]). Edge: Plain.


    Betts 610; BHM 255; Eimer 804; cf. Pax in Nummis 655 (silver); van Loon supp. 592. PCGS MS-64. Exceptionally brilliant and prooflike, with intense mirroring. For cert verification, please follow this link. Incredibly popular type relating to the American Revolution and subsequent independence from Great Britain. Tied with just two others at this level across both major grading services (both are PCGS), and with just one certified finer (NGC MS-65). However, it is easy to see that the present example is a premium-quality piece for the grade assigned, as it is superior to the other two MS-64s, and is actually more attractive than the MS-65 as well. For reference, here is the latter specimen, which realized a total of $3,960 in Heritage's September 2017 Long Beach sale (and for which its current owner wants nearly $6,000).


    In his indispensable reference, American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals, C. Wyllys Betts comments on this type, quoting Mr. W. S. Appleton (from the American Journal of Numismatics), in that the "…reference is here made to the English loss of Port Mahon, with the island of Minorca, and their successful defence of Gibraltar, both which events occurred during the War of American Independence." He also quotes Mr. Parsons, who felt that "…from the variety of designs and inscriptions which are crowded upon the two sides of the Medal, it seems as if the author proposed to write a poem in celebration of the Peace, but finally concluded to publish a Medal." Adding even more intrigue and importance, the Dutch government presented a white metal example of this type, the same as the medal presented here, to John Adams in 1787, which later found its way into the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.


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