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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 4, January 28, 2007, Article 17

MAINE ANTIQUE DIGEST PROFILES FORD INDIAN PEACE MEDAL SALE

The Maine Antique Digest published a super article (written by Samuel
Pennington and Lita Solis-Cohen)on the Stack's sale of the John J. Ford,
Jr. Collection of Indian Peace Medals.  Here are some excerpts:

"Peace medals were issued to Indian chieftains and warriors by the
U.S. beginning in the late 1780's as the government sought peace with
the Indians. (Curiously, Stack's tried to dodge the controversy about
what to call the recipientsóIndians or Native Americansóby subtitling
the catalog "Medallic Distinctions Awarded to First Peoples.") The
first peace medals were large oval silver plaques engraved by the
leading silversmiths of the day. The French, Spanish, and English had
long been issuing peace medals. The Indians wore them proudly as shown
in the portraits painted by Charles Bird King and reproduced as prints
in the volumes by McKenney and Hall.

"Who was buying? To the surprise of many regular dealers and collectors,
one major buyer was a dealer few of them knewó Philadelphia print dealer
W. Graham Arader III.

Arader was quite enthusiastic and outspoken as he explained why to M.A.D.
senior editor Lita Solis-Cohen. "Anyone who collects McKenney and Hall
prints of Indians wants them," said Arader. "They are a piece of history.
We gave the Indians smallpox, syphilis, gunpowder, Christianity, and
alcohol and gave them peace medals, then moved them off their land and
broke six hundred promises. It is a sad story that took place between
the time of Jackson and Grant. Jackson began it, and Grant ended it,
sending his two Civil War generals to massacre the Native Americans."

Arader continued, "The specialist coin dealers don't see the difference
between artifacts and coins. As artifacts the prices were low. I bought
a lot at the Stack auction. There are a lot of fakes out there, but I
felt confident buying these. Stack's is so honest, and the Ford collection
was a special one. I sold everything I bought, and the next day I bought
twice as much from a guy who beat me out on a few lots. I think these
medals are undervalued. I had been looking for them for thirty years.
Collectors keep them in drawers. I will frame them, and they will hang
on the wall next to McKenney and Halls and Catlins [prints]."

[We discussed the McKenney-Hall prints in earlier E-Sylum issues.  If
serious collectors of the medals desired the prints, it's easy to see
how collectors of the prints would take an interest in the medals.
Here are links to some of our earlier articles. -Editor]

 QUESTIONS ON HORAN'S REPRINT OF MCKENNEY-HALL
 esylum_v04n09a06.html

 SOME NOTES ON MCKENNEY AND HALL PORTRAITS
 OF AMERICAN INDIANS AND THEIR PEACE MEDALS
 esylum_v04n09a07.html

 MCKENNEY-HALL LISTS
 esylum_v04n11a05.html

[The article also included a great tabular summary of the sale results
by President.  "The votes are in, and the winner is Thomas Jefferson!
Chester Arthur ran a surprisingly close second."  -Editor]

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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