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Medals featuring real places


Sumserbrown
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Marvelous topic for a post.   In 1908 the Navy followed the Army's lead from three years earlier to create campaign medals for Navy and Marine Corps personnel.  While the Army chose the U.S. Mint to design and produce its medals, the Navy contracted with the venerable and top-drawer Philadelphia jewelry firm Bailey, Banks and Biddle. The company already had an established reputation for their exacting  metal work, including design and production of military and hereditary society medals. German immigrant, Rudolf Christian Freund, BB&B's premier engraver, medalist, and draughtsman designed all eight (8) of the Navy/USMC early campaign medals: Civil War, Spanish, Philippine, China Relief, Cuban Pacification,  Nicaraguan, Mexican and Haitian.  They may not have the bling of foreign decorations and orders with their enameled cloisonné  and gilt, but the simple beauty and exquisite detail of these die struck bronze medals is a big part of what got me into medal collecting decades ago from coin collecting, along with the symbolic history of the real places depicted on the medals.  Freund also designed the Silver and Bronze Star medals.

 

The obverse of the Philippine Campaign Medal depicts the Puerta Real (Royal Gate) one of the eight (8) Gates of the Walled City of Intramuros in Manila, built during the Spanish Colonial Era in the Philippines. The Puerta Real was built in 1663 at the end of Calle Real de Palacio (now General Luna Street) and was used exclusively by the Governor-General for state occasions. It was located west of the Baluarte de San Andrés and faced the old village of Bagumbayan. It was destroyed during the British invasion of 1762 along with the removal of the village. The Puerta Real was rebuilt in 1780 and moved further west to its present location as part of the new defense plan for Intramuros. During the Battle of Manila in 1898, the gate was damaged. It was restored in 1969 with additional work done in 1989. (Wiki)

 

 

phil camp.png

Puerta_Real,_Intramuros,_Manila_(1_January_2003).jpg

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12 minutes ago, aerialbridge said:

Marvelous topic for a post.   In 1908 the Navy followed the Army's lead from three years earlier to create campaign medals for Navy and Marine Corps personnel.  While the Army chose the U.S. Mint to design and produce its medals, the Navy contracted with the venerable and top-drawer Philadelphia jewelry firm Bailey, Banks and Biddle. The company already had an established reputation for their exacting  metal work, including design and production of military and hereditary society medals. German immigrant, Rudolf Christian Freund, BB&B's premier engraver, medalist, and draughtsman designed all eight (8) of the Navy/USMC early campaign medals: Civil War, Spanish, Philippine, China Relief, Cuban Pacification,  Nicaraguan, Mexican and Haitian.  They may not have the bling of foreign decorations and orders with their enameled cloisonné  and gilt, but the simple beauty and exquisite detail of these die struck bronze medals is a big part of what got me into medal collecting decades ago from coin collecting, along with the symbolic history of the real places depicted on the medals.  Freund also designed the Silver and Bronze Star medals.

 

The obverse of the Philippine Campaign Medal depicts the Puerta Real (Royal Gate) one of the eight (8) Gates of the Walled City of Intramuros in Manila, built during the Spanish Colonial Era in the Philippines. The Puerta Real was built in 1663 at the end of Calle Real de Palacio (now General Luna Street) and was used exclusively by the Governor-General for state occasions. It was located west of the Baluarte de San Andrés and faced the old village of Bagumbayan. It was destroyed during the British invasion of 1762 along with the removal of the village. The Puerta Real was rebuilt in 1780 and moved further west to its present location as part of the new defense plan for Intramuros. During the Battle of Manila in 1898, the gate was damaged. It was restored in 1969 with additional work done in 1989. (Wiki)

 

 

phil camp.png

Puerta_Real,_Intramuros,_Manila_(1_January_2003).jpg

I wanted to write that one up but you found a better picture than I did of the Old City Gate!!

 

Bill

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The obverse of the Freud-designed Navy/USMC Mexico service medal depicts San Juan de Ulúa, also known as Castle of San Juan de Ulúa, a large complex of fortresses, prisons and one former palace on an island of the same name in the Gulf of Mexico overlooking the seaport of Veracruz, Mexico. It was built between 1535 and 1769. (Wiki)

 

US Navy Mexico Medal.jpeg

San_Juan_de_Ulua,_Veracruz.jpg

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And here's the last of the six, but certainly not the least,  of Rudolf Christian Freund's eight (8) early Navy/Marine Corps campaign medals that depict a real place.  But you have to work for this one, since it's barely visible without a magnifier.  If you're at all near-sighted,  forget about it.  When the Haitian campaign medal was authorized in 1917, I doubt any of the recipients knew what it depicted on the obverse beyond a beach somewhere in Haiti with mountains in the background.   You have to wonder if Freund intended a secret known only to him.   A hint appears in a 1919 Proceedings article describing the medal,  "the mountains of Cape Hatien with the sea in the foreground.".  But wait, there's more.  If you look at the inset photo you see an edifice on a squared off peak.    That's  the Citadelle Laferrière (aka Citadelle Henri Christophe) located on top of a 3,000 feet-tall mountain called Bonnet a L’Eveque, 17 miles south of the city of Cape-Haïtien. It's one of the largest fortresses in the Americas and was built by Henri Christophe, who played a key role in the Haitian Revolution that eventually led to the country gaining independence from France in 1804. The fortress was built immediately after the revolution, between 1805 and 1820, and was part of a system of fortification designed to resist any attempt by Napoleon's army to recapture the newly independent nation of Haiti.  From the fortress, one can see all the way to the Atlantic coast, and vice versa as Freund cleverly shows us.  On clear days, you can even glimpse the eastern coast of Cuba, located some 90 miles away. But that's another story, since Freund's  exquisitely finished Cuban Pacification medal doesn't show a place, but shows Columbia, with a sheathed sword,  holding Old Glory in one hand and  handing an olive branch, symbolizing peace (along with a dove) to a Cuban peasant.

 

 

Haitian campaign.jpg

citadelle-laferriere-26.jpg

cuban pacification medal.png

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2 hours ago, USMCR79 said:

I wanted to write that one up but you found a better picture than I did of the Old City Gate!!

 

Bill

 

Bill, I had to dig for it, since there's 8  gates in the Walled City of Intramuros in Manila, and they're all "old"!   But at least they're still there, unlike most of the 8 Wonders of the World.  Previous five (5) USN medal photo credits to member "medalmulisha". 

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On 10/15/2022 at 9:37 PM, aerialbridge said:

Marvelous topic for a post.   In 1908 the Navy followed the Army's lead from three years earlier to create campaign medals for Navy and Marine Corps personnel.  While the Army chose the U.S. Mint to design and produce its medals, the Navy contracted with the venerable and top-drawer Philadelphia jewelry firm Bailey, Banks and Biddle. The company already had an established reputation for their exacting  metal work, including design and production of military and hereditary society medals. German immigrant, Rudolf Christian Freund, BB&B's premier engraver, medalist, and draughtsman designed all eight (8) of the Navy/USMC early campaign medals: Civil War, Spanish, Philippine, China Relief, Cuban Pacification,  Nicaraguan, Mexican and Haitian.  They may not have the bling of foreign decorations and orders with their enameled cloisonné  and gilt, but the simple beauty and exquisite detail of these die struck bronze medals is a big part of what got me into medal collecting decades ago from coin collecting, along with the symbolic history of the real places depicted on the medals.  Freund also designed the Silver and Bronze Star medals.

 

The obverse of the Philippine Campaign Medal depicts the Puerta Real (Royal Gate) one of the eight (8) Gates of the Walled City of Intramuros in Manila, built during the Spanish Colonial Era in the Philippines. The Puerta Real was built in 1663 at the end of Calle Real de Palacio (now General Luna Street) and was used exclusively by the Governor-General for state occasions. It was located west of the Baluarte de San Andrés and faced the old village of Bagumbayan. It was destroyed during the British invasion of 1762 along with the removal of the village. The Puerta Real was rebuilt in 1780 and moved further west to its present location as part of the new defense plan for Intramuros. During the Battle of Manila in 1898, the gate was damaged. It was restored in 1969 with additional work done in 1989. (Wiki)

 

 

phil camp.png

Puerta_Real,_Intramuros,_Manila_(1_January_2003).jpg

 

Very interesting explanation of these medals and love that these were an inspiration to start medal collecting.

I know nothing about these medals at all, it's not an area of interest within my collection so I am keen to know more. Within these eight USMC campaign medals, what sort of prices do they fetch and how rare are they, approx. how many of each were issued?

thanks

Rob

 

 

 

 

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On 10/8/2022 at 1:44 AM, collectsmedals said:

Commemorative Medal for the Allied Armies entrance into Naples in 1943, with the Naples pier and Mount Vesuvius in the background.

IMG_1481.JPG

IMG_1482.JPG

 

Something like this as the real photo. I can't find anything at the exact angle but it's good enough

 

 

the-city-bay-and-vesuvius-naples-italy-1895-creator-unknown-T3K859.jpg

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On 10/6/2022 at 10:19 PM, Blacksmith said:

This is a BRILLIANT idea for a topic.  Thank you!

 

Thanks very much!

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Medal of the Battle of Strasbourg and the commemoration of the return of Alsace to France, 1918

Table medal designed by Emile Monier and manufactured by the Paris mint. Bronze, 119.73g, 66mm x 46mm

Featuring the rooftops of Strasbourg, a stork (the bird symbol of Alsace region) and the Notre Dame Cathedral in the city.

80 obverse.JPG

80 reverse.JPG

223007269_16 (1).jpg

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Here's another WW1 town medal -- Salem, New Jersey.  It features "the Salem Oak".  According to the town's website "The city’s centerpiece is the famous “Salem Oak”, a 500-year old oak along Broadway that was recently judged to be the largest white oak tree in New Jersey, and one of the largest in the country."  The tree still stands and is pictured below.

 

 

Salem NJ Obverse.jpg

Salem-Oak-2.jpg

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On 10/16/2022 at 11:19 PM, Sumserbrown said:

 

Very interesting explanation of these medals and love that these were an inspiration to start medal collecting.

I know nothing about these medals at all, it's not an area of interest within my collection so I am keen to know more. Within these eight USMC campaign medals, what sort of prices do they fetch and how rare are they, approx. how many of each were issued?

thanks

Rob

 

Its tough to generalize about today's prices for these 8 early USN/USMC campaign medals (Civil War through Haitian).   So, there's 15 medals (each campaign has a Navy or  Marine obverse version except for Haitian that has only Navy obverse).   The price range goes from the lowest being generally the most produced,  the USN Mexico,  that runs about  $150 to the rarest,  the USMC Civil War that will sell for several thousand dollars.  When you compare the prices of US coins and US medals and their respective production runs,  where even the highest production numbers for a medal would be scarce or even rare for a coin, US campaign medals are way undervalued.   It always amazes me that given their great designs and execution, and history connected to the traceable medals, that more adolescent coin collectors don't make the transition to medal collecting, like I did.  USMC medals were produced less, have a focused collector base and generally bring higher prices than a Navy medal for the same campaign. All of these early medals are officially numbered on the rim as issued, but unfortunately list compilations of recipients is very spotty.   But the service files for sailors and marines who received these medals will generally have a receipt showing the medal and its # that they received.   Medals identifiable to a particular man will command much higher prices than an unattributed medal.   And sometimes,  men would have their name and/or ship privately engraved on their medal, as the example below from medalmulisha, which naturally increased the desirability and price.  The two main reference sources for US medals are John Strandberg's "The Call of Duty" and "The Gleim Medal Letters".  Watch ebay completed auctions to get a pretty good assessment of fair market value for the medals, just like anything else.  

 

p4288_1_orig.png

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4 hours ago, aerialbridge said:

 

Its tough to generalize about today's prices for these 8 early USN/USMC campaign medals (Civil War through Haitian).   So, there's 15 medals (each campaign has a Navy or  Marine obverse version except for Haitian that has only Navy obverse).   The price range goes from the lowest being generally the most produced,  the USN Mexico,  that runs about  $150 to the rarest,  the USMC Civil War that will sell for several thousand dollars.  When you compare the prices of US coins and US medals and their respective production runs,  where even the highest production numbers for a medal would be scarce or even rare for a coin, US campaign medals are way undervalued.   It always amazes me that given their great designs and execution, and history connected to the traceable medals, that more adolescent coin collectors don't make the transition to medal collecting, like I did.  USMC medals were produced less, have a focused collector base and generally bring higher prices than a Navy medal for the same campaign. All of these early medals are officially numbered on the rim as issued, but unfortunately list compilations of recipients is very spotty.   But the service files for sailors and marines who received these medals will generally have a receipt showing the medal and its # that they received.   Medals identifiable to a particular man will command much higher prices than an unattributed medal.   And sometimes,  men would have their name and/or ship privately engraved on their medal, as the example below from medalmulisha, which naturally increased the desirability and price.  The two main reference sources for US medals are John Strandberg's "The Call of Duty" and "The Gleim Medal Letters".  Watch ebay completed auctions to get a pretty good assessment of fair market value for the medals, just like anything else.  

 

p4288_1_orig.png

 

Very interesting, many thanks for taking the time to explain this. I feel like I have learnt a lot.

Rob

 

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  • 2 months later...

The WWI commemorative medal for the city of Bradford in Yorkshire, northern England features the Town Hall built in 1870, before Bradford became a city in 1897.

412 obverse.JPG

412 reverse.JPG

bradfordth2.jpg

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