Medal leads to record auction of $4.27 million

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Silver Proof Medal of the Declaration of Independence, also known as Wright’s Masterpiece

A unique U.S. silver medal depicting the presentation of the Declaration of Independence set a record at the Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC 32nd Treasure Auction November 3-4.

The live online and ground auction was itself a record sale for the company with more than $4.27 million sold from 1,622 lots.

The Large Proof Silver Medal was created in 1851 by artist Charles Cushing Wright. It was the only example he struck in silver and has been called Wright’s masterpiece.

On one side, the medal depicts the presentation of the draft Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776. Founding Fathers John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin along with Richard Sherman and Robert R. Livingston on the drafting committee presents the draft declaration to the President of Congress, John Hancock. Of the 47 men in the entire scene at Independence Hall, 42 of them were signers of the Declaration of Independence. The design is heavily based on the famous 1818 painting by John Trumbull which currently hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.

The other side of the coin presents a culmination of formative American historical events from “DISCOVERY OF NORTH AMERICA BY THE ENGLISH.JLY.3.1497” to “ASSAULT ON QUEBEC BY THE AMERICAN.DEC.31.1775”. A vignette of Europeans landing on American shores as a Native American waits adorns the top of the reverse design. The bottom scene depicts a bustling, developed American port.

The entire ownership pedigree of this unique medal can be traced back to Charles Ira Bushnell (June 1882 Chapman sale, lot 1274), Garrett Estate (April 1981 Bowers & Ruddy sale, lot 1910), Julian Leidman (Bowers & Merena sale April 1986 auction, lot 4126), and Charles A. Warton (March 2014 Stack’s Bowers auction, lot 2077), subsequently purchased by numismatist John Adams at the August Stack’s Bowers auction 2018 (lot 46).

NGC has classified the medal as MS 62 although a specimen designation is more appropriate to describe this unique piece.

The presale estimate for the lot was $25,000+. After heated bidding, both online and by phone, the medal sold for $168,000. Thus, another pedigree for this unique medal was added – as part of the Resolute Americana collection.

The treasure from the wreck also attracted considerable interest at auction, with many lots exceeding their high estimates.

A unique gold bar recovered from the site of the ‘Corrigan’ wreck of a 1715 Fleet treasure ship in Vero Beach, Florida has attracted strong bidding.

The gold bar, weighing 915 grams and marked with a fineness of 22k, was made in Colombia before being shipped to Spain in the ill-fated fleet. It bears the royal revenue stamp as well as a decorated assayer/melter (B)ARBACO(A)S stamp indicating its origin from the important Colombian gold mining town, Barbacoas. Rescuers salvaged the bar in 1983 and soon after it entered the collection of 1715 Fleet investor Don Anderson.

With an estimate of $60,000 to $90,000, considerable bidding led to a final sale price of $132,000 for the 1715 Fleet gold bar.

The top-selling lot of coins from the auction was an extremely rare Venezuela 5 venezolanos gold trial dated 1875-A when it first appeared at auction.

The coin, classified by NGC as Proof 62 Cameo, is one of ten minted by the Paris Mint for the nation of Venezuela. Only five copies, including this coin, are in private hands. Four others are in museums like the Banco Central in Caracas, Venezuela. The tenth example is buried in the cornerstone of the statue of Simon Bolivar by Adamo Tadolini in Plaza Bolivar also in Caracas.

The rarity and importance of this coin in Latin American numismatics sparked an escalation. The coin eventually sold for $78,000 off a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 to $45,000.

The next Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC Treasure Auction will take place in early May 2023. Interested senders should contact the company via email at [email protected] Full auction results are available at auction.sedwickcoins.com.

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