1839 gold medal of Revolutionary War general called the “most shocking and important discovery” in years

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When numismatist John Kraljevich of Fort Mill, South Carolina opened a field containing a novel stable gold medal that an public sale home requested him to authenticate, his jaw dropped.

“My response was someplace alongside the traces of, holy (expletive),” Kraljevich stated. “As quickly as I laid my eyes on it, I knew what it was.”

Certainly, it was the unique and solely gold Daniel Morgan at Cowpens Medal struck by the Philadelphia Mint in 1839.

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The unique and solely gold Daniel Morgan at Cowpens Medal struck by the Philadelphia Mint in 1839.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries


Untraced since 1885, an nameless proprietor consigned the medal to be auctioned off at Stack’s Bowers Galleries April 4-Eight in Costa Mesa, California.

“Struck in spectacular aid and superlative element, this medal is the best medallic effort of its age and, maybe, another,” Stack’s Bowers Galleries wrote of the one-of-a-kind medal.

The pre-auction gross sales estimate is $250,000 to $500,000.

Kraljevich, a supplier who focuses on uncommon, early medals, has been authenticating cash and medals for twenty years.

“Its look represents probably the most surprising and essential discovery in American numismatics in years,” he stated.

He was aware of the thriller behind the medal that was minted for Revolutionary War General Daniel Morgan, and knew that over time, many replicas and copies of medals have been minted. 

Within the mid-1970s, for instance, newspapers reported {that a} metallic detector from Greer discovered what he believed was the Morgan medal 15 inches underground. The finder stated he despatched the medal to the Smithsonian Institute for identification, in line with studies.

However Kraljevich stated he could not discover any subsequent information to validate the story.

“In our enterprise, we see native newspapers publish very credulous articles from metallic detectors who declare to have discovered one thing fantastic,” he stated. “Usually (the studies) are a pink herring and usually by no means seen once more.

“There are quite a lot of causes for replicas (of the Morgan medal) to be discovered right here, however not the unique. There isn’t a shred of proof that the unique was ever within the state of South Carolina.”

Kraljevich stated the unique 1840 case and stable gold Daniel Morgan at Cowpens Medal that was despatched to his workplace from the public sale home have been in immaculate situation, with the medal grading 63 SP (Specimen) on a scale of 60 to 70.

He stated a third-party, the Skilled Coin Grading Service (PCGS), additionally authenticated the medal.

What is the uncommon Daniel Morgan medal price?

On the subject of worth, he stated there isn’t any telling how a lot a medal this uncommon would possibly fetch at public sale.

The same medal awarded in 1818 to Gen. William Henry Harrison for main a decisive U.S. victory within the Warfare of 1812 introduced $600,000 at an public sale final yr, he stated.

“This piece (the Morgan medal) is in a lot better situation,” Kraljevich stated. “This medal is known due to the beautiful artistry, its rarity, situation and an amazing story. If it introduced an analogous quantity ($600,000), I might be very happy.”

Concerning the Daniel Morgan medal

As a guide, Kraljevich additionally supplied the historical past of the medal to Stack’s Bowers Galleries for publication of its Spring 2022 Public sale catalog.

The medal was initially licensed in March 1781 by the Continental Congress to acknowledge the valor proven by Gen. Daniel Morgan on the January 1781 Battle of Cowpens.

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The back and front of the Daniel Morgan at Cowpens Medal struck by the Philadelphia Mint in 1839.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries


The Continental Military received the Jan. 17, 1781, battle, which coupled with the British defeat on the Battle of Kings Mountain led to the eventual defeat of the British on the siege of Yorktown in October 1781.

According to the Fred W. Smith Nationwide Library for the Examine of George Washington, Gen. Daniel Morgan served alongside and beneath a number of well-known officers, together with George Washington, Benedict Arnold, Horatio Gates and Nathaniel Greene.

Morgan was born in 1735 and was an officer of the Virginia militia in the beginning of the Revolutionary Warfare. He resigned from the military in 1779, then returned to service after a British victory on the Aug. 16, 1780, Battle of Camden to guide the Continental Military to victory at Cowpens. He later served within the U.S., Home of Representatives, retired in 1799, and died in 1802.

A monument to Morgan stands at Morgan Sq. in downtown Spartanburg.

The medal was designed by Augustin Dupre, a legendary French grasp medallic artist, and was a part of the Comitia American collection of 133 medals created between 1776 and the early 19th century that memorialized pivotal moments of the American Revolutionary Warfare.

It’s about 2.2 inches in diameter and 4.80 troy ounces.

The entrance of the medal depicts Morgan main an infantry cost on horseback in opposition to a retreating British cavalry.

The again encompasses a Native American feminine inserting a crown of laurels on the top of Morgan who bows in uniform to her proper to obtain his crown. Behind them are two cannons, a protect, trumpet and fasces to characterize struggle.

The medal was struck in Paris in 1789 and introduced in 1790 to Morgan, who was then residing close to the frontier city of Winchester, Virginia.

Substitute medal

After Morgan’s loss of life, the medal was owned by his grandson and inheritor Morgan Neville. Saved in a financial institution vault in Pittsburgh, it was stolen in 1818 throughout a theft.

“The thieves have been ultimately recognized the following day and jailed at Neville (a coincidence), a city close to Cincinnati,” Stack’s Bowers Galleries wrote. “The 2 males escaped the jail quickly thereafter, and simply one among them was recaptured a couple of days later.”

The medal was by no means recovered.

Neville later satisfied Congress to have the gold medal changed, and in 1836, Congress licensed a alternative medal – only one to be struck in gold. It was struck in 1839 in Philadelphia and introduced in 1841 to Morgan Neville’s son.

It remained within the household till round 1885, and in some unspecified time in the future, was acquired by famed financier and banker J.P. Morgan, who incorrectly believed he was associated to Daniel Morgan, Kraljevich stated.

The medal then disappeared from view, and was thought to have been misplaced or melted.

Solely in latest months did it reappear in its unique United States Mint case of subject – pink leather-based with crushed purple velvet inside, tooled in gilt and blind – when consigned anonymously to the public sale home, Kraljevich stated.

All the spring public sale might be accessible for viewing and bidding at StacksBowers.com.



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