Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss

(Peace and Commerce Medal)

Barber, Charles (after Augustin Dupre): USA, 1876, Bronze, 67 mm
Obv: America, in the guise of an Indian princess, with accouterments of Commerce (bales) and Plenty (a cornucopia), welcoming Commerce (Mercury) to our shores.  In the background, the sea and a ship under full sail      TO PEACE AND COMMERCE
Exergue: IV JUL. MDCCLXXVI.   (4 July 1776)
Rev: Thirteen stars breaking through a cloud above the Great Seal of the United States [Eagle with breast shield clutching an olive branch in one claw and 13 spears in the other.  In its beak a scroll inscribed with the motto,  E PLURIBUS UNUM (One Out of Many)]     THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Signed:  DUPRE. F.
Signed in exergue:  C. BARBER.  1876.
Mintage= 86
Ref: Julian 238/CM-15; Failor 258/635;  Loubat 115/19; Jaeger and Bowers 84/73;  Weiss BW100

The original dies for the Diplomatic medal were executed by Dupre in 1790 and 1791. They were intended to be presented to certain diplomats. Loubat states that two of these medals were presented by Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State under President George Washington,  to the Marquis de la Luzerne and to the Count de Moustier. Charles Barber, working at the U.S. Mint, prepared copy dies of the medal from cliches of the adopted obverse and unadopted reverse made available to him in 1875.

Elizabeth Bryant Johnston, writing in A Visit to the Cabinet of the United States Mint at Philadelphia, 1876, noted: "It was a gracious thought on the part of our forefathers to have this medal produced as a diplomatic courtesy, and seems like unto the proud ceremonial of those days. It recalls the acts of decorum which distinguished them as men of high association and observant of the amenities of life, public and private. They individually appear, at the distance of generations, worthy of our highest admiration; and the best sign we perceive of better things, in this money-getting and craving age, is the development of a higher reverence for the heroes of '76."