Collection of Benjamin Weiss
WASHINGTON BEFORE BOSTON
DUVIVIER, Pierre Simon Benjamin (Charles Barber): USA,
1776, Bronze, 68 mm
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. For a detailed description of all the various strikes of this medal, see Musante, 2016.
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)