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Famous Silver (1800) Washington Skull and Crossbones Funeral Medal Highlights Our June 2014 Baltimore Auction Event

Famous Silver (1800) Washington Skull and Crossbones Funeral Medal Highlights Our June 2014 Baltimore Auction Event

By Frank Van Valen, Numismatist and Cataloger, U.S. Coins

Author: Frank Van Valen/Wednesday, April 9, 2014/Categories: United States Coin of the Week

The Father of Our Country, George Washington, passed into history on December 14, 1799. Few Americans, if any, held as sacred a place in the hearts of our forebears as Washington, and the nation mourned for months. Sentiments such as “He is in Glory, the World in Tears” and “First in War, First in Peace, First in the Hearts of His Countrymen” were familiar to every American who had passed through the birth of our nation with Washington at the lead.

 

Countless celebrations of Washington’s life and accomplishments followed almost immediately after his death, held throughout the land from the largest of cities to the smallest of hamlets. One such event, a funeral procession held by Masons -- Washington was a Mason – took place in Boston, Massachusetts on February 11, 1800, the anniversary of Washington’s birth, and was attended by some 1,600 marchers and doubtless many more onlookers. It is thought the Skull and Crossbones Funeral Medal was made for and worn by marchers and onlookers of this great event. On February 22, a civic procession wound its way through the streets of Boston, again with large crowds and medallic tributes, this time with a funeral urn as the central motif.

 

The famous Skull and Crossbones medal was almost certainly made in early 1800, just weeks after Washington passed, but prior to the Masonic march held February 11. Virtually every example of the medal known is holed for suspension at the top, and these were no doubt worn with pride at the Mason’s march and probably long afterward, especially given the condition of many of the medals known today.

 

We have sold several of these popular and scarce Skull and Crossbones medals in the past, most recently an EF example in our January 2014 Americana Sale that realized $41,125. In our January 2013 Americana Sale, we sold an example identical in grade to the specimen in our upcoming June Baltimore event -- PCGS VF-35. That coin realized $27,348 after fierce bidding competition. How high will the bidding rise for the specimen we will offer this June? That remains to be seen, but we are certain that there will be numerous bidders attempting to take the Skull and Crossbones medal home, and unless you are greatly determined, your bid will simply fall be the wayside. 

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