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Historic “1799” Washington Funeral Urn Medal in Silver to be offered in Rarities Night of our March 2016 Baltimore Auction

Featured
in lot 13007 of the Rarities Night session in our March 2016 Baltimore Auction
is an exceptional silver example of the historic Washington Funeral Urn medal.

When
George Washington died at his Virginia home on December 14, 1799, the fledgling
nation plunged into an extended period of mourning. Throughout the United
States many events and funeral processions were held, and along with them
various souvenir medals and badges were privately produced. Among the best
known are those issued by the City of Boston in 1800 for the two funeral
processions: one on February 11 and a second on February 22.

The
medals, struck in silver, white metal, and even gold, were made with two
distinct designs; the medals for the first procession bear a skull and
crossbones motif, while the medals produced for the later event have a funeral
urn. The medals were issued pierced and were intended to be worn around the
next with a black ribbon and, very few surviving specimens are found
uncirculated or even undamaged. However, in our Official Auction of the Whitman
Coin & Collectibles Spring 2016 Expo, we are delight to present an exceptionally
well preserved example of this scarce and popular Washington type.


Both
sides are remarkably smooth with a soft satin texture beneath handsome
olive-gray patina. Much of the original finish persists and direct viewing
angles also reveal iridescent pale gold undertones. The details are uniformly
sharp throughout, and the centering is nearly perfect apart from the fact that
the obverse is drawn ever so slightly to the viewer’s right. Even so, the
denticulation is complete around that side, if a bit tight along the right
border. Pierced for suspension, as originally issued, although now neatly
plugged.

We
find this plug interesting for, when taken into consideration alongside the
exceptional level of surface preservation, it suggests that this medal was not
worn as intended but, rather, may have found its way into an early cabinet.  This piece represents one of the finest
examples extant for the issue. Always popular among exonumists and collectors
of Washingtoniana, the Boston funeral medals remain a key component of any
specialized cabinet of early American medals and this offering is a significant
opportunity.


This
important rarity will be offered alongside other treasures in our March 31,
2016, Rarities Night session of the Official Auction of the Whitman Coin &
Collectibles Spring Expo in Baltimore. The entire auction is available online
at StacksBowers.com. To consign to one of our upcoming auctions, please contact
our offices today at 1-800-458-4646 to speak with a Consignment Director and
see what Stack’s Bowers Galleries can do for you.

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