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    James Garfield Indian Peace Medal, 1881, Restrike. Julian-IP-44, AR, AU Details NGC. Silver oval, 75.3 mm x 59.2 mm, 195.7 gm. The obverse has a bust of Garfield facing left surrounded by "JAMES A. GARFIELD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES 1881" and signed by Charles E. Barber. On the reverse, a settler shows an Indian his homestead, wife nursing baby, and his son plowing in background. The cartouches depict "PEACE", at top, and a pipe, tomahawk, and wreath, below. An NGC photo certificate of authenticity accompanies the lot.

    Several requests for more background on the Hayes and Garfield peace medals (lots 47278 and this lot) have led us to research them further. Unfortunately the origins of these medals at the U.S. Mint remain somewhat sketchy, but we have been able to unearth a little more information.

    No records were kept at the Mint as to how many of these were struck, or when. It appears that they may have been made more or less "to order" over a period of a couple of decades. Both Prucha and Julian concur that twenty-five silver Garfields were struck in 1881-82 for presentation to Indians ("originals"), but the Mint records cited by Julian for the period of 1883-1904 record no silver Hayes restrikes, and only single silver Garfield in 1903/04. Mint records do show a total of eighty bronze restrikes for the two presidents over the same period.

    It may be safely presumed that lot 47278 is an "early" restrike, as it was struck from the original reverse die with the date 1877. Most of the known bronze restrikes used a different die without the date, and were made with a matte finish (neither the Hayes nor the Garfield in the auction has a matte finish).

    Unfortunately, auction records yield little help in determining the populations, or relative rarity, of these medals. A highly respected dealer in medallic art kindly allowed us access to his auction database, which goes back to the 1970s and includes virtually every significant token and medal auction over the last several decades. Each medal had but two auction appearances in silver: the 1986 Dreyfuss sale included a silver Hayes - but with an undated reverse - and the Bridge Collection sold in 1991 included a dated version with an integral loop(which may be the present example), as well as an undated one with a matte surface. The John Ford Collection did not include a Hayes example in silver.

    Ford did have an "original" Garfield, which sold for nearly $100,000. The only Garfield restrike in silver for which we could find a sale record was also in the Bridge auction. Like the Hayes, it had an integral loop, and may have been the same copy on offer here.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2010
    22nd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,361

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