Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss

WASHINGTON BEFORE BOSTON

DUVIVIER, Pierre Simon Benjamin (Charles Barber): USA, 1776, Bronze, 68 mm
Obv: Bust of George Washington (r):    GEORGIO WASHINGTON SVPREMO DVCI EXERCITVVM ADSERTORI LIBERTATIS (George Washington, Supreme Commander of the Army, Champion of Freedom)
Below:  COMITIA AMERICANA (The American Congress)
Rev: Washington and his military staff and aide-de-camp mounted on Dorchester Heights, a bluff above the harbor at Boston. Washington, who is upon a spirited horse, points to the British forces who are evacuating Boston. In the lower middle ground may be seen the American army drawn up on parade, and a battery of two cannons pointed at Boston city.     HOSTIBUS PRIMO FUGATUS (The Enemy for the First Time Put to Flight).
Exergue:  BOSTONIUM RECUPERATUM XVII. MARTII MDCCLXXVI. (Boston Retaken March 17, 1776)
Signed:  DU VIVIER PARIS. F.
Ref: Julian 114/MI-1; Failor 173/ 401; Loubat 1/1; Baker 30/49; Europese Penningen # 1694; Jaeger and Bowers 4/2;  see also Betts 244/542;  Weiss BW417

This medal is from the series of Comitia Americana medals, those medals voted by Congress to commemorate significant victories during the Revolutionary War.  This particular medal commemorates the British evacuation of Boston on March 17, 1776, one of the most encouraging early victories of the nascent American Army during the Revolutionary War. During the previous winter Henry Knox had transported a number of canon from Fort Ticonderoga in western New York to Boston. Washington with his commanders, mounted on horses, stood by the canons on Dorchester Heights overlooking the city. Under the threat of bombardment, the British troops quickly fled, making Boston the first major city liberated from British occupation.

There has been more interest in this medal than perhaps any other struck in this country. The obverse undraped bust of Washington, based on the bust by Jean Antoine Houdon, is considered the standard medallic representation of Washington by which all others have been judged. The original medal was struck in gold in the early days of 1790. Over the years, the reverse of the medal has been restruck with new dies both in Paris and in the United States. This specimen has no edge marks, and it has likely been struck at the US Mint ca.1890 from dies executed by Charles E. Barber.

LINK to History and Varieties of the Medal  (from Coins and Currency Collections, University of Notre Dame)

LINK to Siege of Boston (from American Revolution)

LINK to the American Revolution (from The History Place)

LINK to Die Varieties of the Washington Before Medal (by Donald Scarinci)

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