1781 Libertas Americana Silver Medal

  • This silver 1783 Libertas Americana Medal is one of only eight known examples of its kind
  • Commemorating the relationship between America and France, it was designed by Benjamin Franklin
  • Franklin was inspired by victories at Yorktown and Saratoga
  • He created this medal in collaboration with famed French medalist and sculptor Augustin Dupre
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-3354

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A prestigious legacy piece, this silver 1783 Libertas Americana Medal is one of only eight known examples of its kind. Not only is it an extraordinary rarity, but it is also exceptionally beautiful. In Katherine Jaeger and Q. David Bowers' book entitled 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens, the Libertas American Medal ranks number one above all others. Its history extends back to the creative mind of the Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, who collaborated with famed French medalist and sculptor Augustin Dupre on its design. Perhaps the most famous of all American medals — and certainly the most coveted among collectors — it represents a stunning tribute to the friendship between the American and French nations.

On March 4, 1782, Franklin wrote from France to Robert Livingston, Secretary for Foreign Affairs: "This puts me in mind of a medal to strike since the last great event you gave me an account of [the surrender at Yorktown], representing the United States by the figure of an infant Hercules in his cradle, strangling the two serpents; and France by that of Minerva, sitting by as his nurse, with her spear and helmet, and her robe specked with a few fleur de lis." The 1783 Libertas Americana brings this creative vision to life. Highly sculptural in design, it features a dramatic bust of Liberty with flowing hair, a Phrygian cap atop a pole behind her and LIBERTAS AMERICANA ("American Liberty") above. The reverse reflects Franklin's design concept, as Minerva (France) protects a young Hercules (United States) from the attacking lion (Great Britain). Two dates, "17 OCT. 1777" and "19 OCT. 1781," honor the patriot victories at Saratoga and Yorktown.
1781 Libertas Americana Silver Medal
Period: 18th Century
Origin: America
Type: Medals and Tokens

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