Long Beard's Blog

05 Nov 2022

Often Overlooked

Medals | Long Beard

United States Bicentennial commemorative medals, both official and privately struck, were a resounding success at the time of their inception. Some appearing in the years leading up to the Bicentennial of 1976. Literally hundreds, if not reaching the thousands, of these once treasured mementos of the time eventually finding their way into a cigar or shoe box tucked away in a closet or attic to be forgotten. To be certain there is still a select group, all be they much smaller in number than back in the 1970's, who collect and prize these true works of art. The author being one such, presents a particular piece just added to the hoard and subject for this week's blog. Enjoy!

In a few short years, we as a nation will once more celebrate it's anniversary, the 250th to be exact. I was one of the fortunate to have been born at a time when the 200th Anniversary was alive and well with great patriotism. It was a time when the Thirteen star flag reminiscent to Betsy Ross was flown outside many homes nearly equaling the flag of the United States. People were simply that enthusiastic and patriotic that anything and everything related was a must have item, a keepsake to remember. Or so this is in my memory all those years later of life in South-western Pennsylvania. Medals, tokens and circulating U.S. designs were the largest of collectible groups. Once treasured pieces of history easily and relatively inexpensive in today's mark place with a high percentage of these being as if struck yesterday. So as we approach the next anniversary thoughts of how, or even if, these medals will compare. Sadly, unless things change, history on a similar scale seems highly unlikely. Yet surely it shall if only in a lesser sense.

On to the medal accompanying the weekly blog. As a collector of these since their issue, putting things in perspective, there are still many, many strikes and compositions in bronze, pewter, silver and gold (yes real gold, 18k to be precise) the few hundred which I have barely scratch the surface as to what exists. Of these, the Hudson, New Hampshire is at the top of my list for both design and strike. Struck in true ultra high relief of bronze, even the most minute details emerge to the naked eye. About as close to three dimension as one could get even by today's standards and technologies. About the size of the American Silver Eagle and as thick, the design elements pretrude a full 1/16 of an inch from the background. This stunning example a testament to talent and skill of an unknown master sculptor. The letters MAF on the reverse, lower right at the flagpole base a possible clue. As are the two cog wheel privy marks on the ends of the dual date, perhaps that of Danbury Mint? Research becomes difficult, yet I have seen this before. Those familiar with the current Innovation Dollars will see an eerily similar privy mark. However, this medal was privately struck and not affiliated or authorized by the U.S. Mint or Bicentennial Commission.

Finally, a brief history of town that commemorated the 200th Anniversary. Hudson, as it is currently named was actually Nottingham West during the Revolutionary War, one of five names, becoming it's current in 1830. Situated forty miles north of Boston, the small community of rural people, largely Puritan by faith, settled in the area having fled the oppression and insults of England. As the storm of conflict brewed, the sentiment of this same treatment by the Crown, saw them siding more with the patriots than the loyalists or tories. As they had defended their homes in the wilderness against the Indians during the Indian Wars unassisted and unaided, the thoughts of England seizing upon the first moments of prosperity was unacceptable. And so, as 800 British troops crossed the Charles River from Boston to Cambridge shortly before midnight on April 18, 1775, the news had reached Nottingham West by noon the 19. Spread by numerous dispatch riders which had grown in numbers following the ride of Paul Revere just a few short hours before. The call to arms in Nottingham West was quite impressive, 65 men by the afternoon equipped for war with musket and ammunition gathered on the common at Hudson Center ready to march to Lexington. One such, Asa Davis was in the field plowing behind his ox as news arrived. Leaving the animal behind for his patriotic wife Elizabeth to unyoke and care for as he saddled his horse, riding off with musket ready. Reaching Lexington the following day, they were informed that the British had retreated. While no actual battles took place in Hudson, the participation by many of the towns people during several of the popular ones can be attributed.

So these sort of medals and tokens from obscure and forgotten places hold a special meaning to the sacrifices and contributions of the otherwise ordinary people in the defense of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.



Level 5

So many medals to choose from. As I learn from posts like your and others, I will see which way my future collecting leans.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I hope that we will be as filled with patriotism for our 250th as we were for the 200th in 1976. EVERYTHING was bicentennial and that was the best year to graduate from H.S. It was an exciting time. This time around I fear we will be singing a sadder song of freedom.

AC coin$

Level 6

Impressive and catching essay and blog. The tradition of launching medals with an intrinsic art depiction in them is an important task to convey a scene in history and a proposal in art rendering as well. I liked so much that image included. It makes the beholder ponder further into history. Thanks for your blog.


Level 7

You should try it sometime

Kevin Leab

Level 4

Great blog!! I remember the Bicentennial celebrations in our area. Parades and all!! I'm sure I bought some Bicentennial issues back then as well. I don't own any of the medals from 1976 though.... unfortunately.


Level 4

As I was not alive in 1976 to take in the bicentennial, I am anxiously awaiting the the 250th anniversary in 2026. Both from a patriotic stand point and a numismatic one. Was unaware that other mints made commemorative medals for the bicentennial. Thanks for sharing.

It's Mokie

Level 6

i remember those wonderful years leading up to the bicentennial and marveling at all the interesting US Mint and private mint products on the market. It truly was a fun time to collect and I still have my set of America's First Medals in their original holder to remind me of those days. Thanks for sharing your medal Long Beard. I picked up the Hudson New York commemorative half at this past PAN show so Hudson is getting a lot of love from us blogateers.

Long Beard

Level 5

I saw that in your post. A spectacular example that you scored!


Level 6

Really enjoyed your blog! I like the old medals. You have a great one here! ; )


Level 6

You are right, that medal has amazing high relief. Those clouds really come out. I enjoyed your blog. Thanks, very well done.


Level 5

1976 was exciting. 200th anniversary. I sent off for my Bicentennial sets from the mint. As I remember the sets arrived well before 1976? Still have my 5 proof sets. The mintage was high. But still a special set. 250th will probably see some interesting commemoratives. Nice medal and history lesson. Thanks for posting .


Level 7

Great history and better medal. The mint did make many medals during 1976. Im lucky to have two. Yours is brilliant. The story's of the riders are not well known. Tere were as you stated many even a teenage girl who met up with Revere and his rider. One was caught she got away. Many of our hero's were teenagers There is a show on the history channel that tells the whole story. I believe its in 7or 8 parts. I was shocked at the amount of teenagers helped. One girl brought poison aboard the prison ships . One of the prisoners put it in the guards beer. Boats came along the side and they escaped. I will stop there. Thank you for an enjoyable blog. It has everything a collector is looking for. And enjoyable. Thanks.


Level 6

Nice looking medal. Like you said, many different medals were struck. Looking for them and finding a new one for your collection is very rewarding. Some are greatly over prices, others can be obtained at a reasonable price. Good luck in the future.

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