Back in late June NBS Treasurer David Sundman forwarded the following note from a web site visitor:
My name is CDR Richard G. Graham, U.S. Navy Ret., and I reside in Concord, NH. From 1958 to 1962, I was assigned to the Navy Recruiting Station, Baltimore, MD and was a member of the original U.S. Frigate Constellation Restoration Committee. For many years the Station was instrumental in the raising of funds for the restoration of this ship.
Special Souvenir Medals, struck from copper spikes used in the original construction of the ship, were mailed to various Navy Commands throughout the world and the funds raised helped defer some of the costs of Constellation reconstruction, then ongoing in Baltimore.
I have many of the original medals, as well as the literature that was enclosed with each individually packaged medal. In addition to a short history and a description of the work being undertaken, the literature states:
"This pamphlet was produced at no cost to the "Constellation" Committee by Bastian Bros. Co., Rochester, New York, manufacturer of the Medal. Artist: Edward L. Christie, Tower Building, Baltimore, Maryland".
In doing research on one of my fellow members of the Constellation Restoration Committee,
I came across NBS commentary questioning the origin of the medal.
Mr. Graham was kind enough to send me an example of the medal and literature. Thanks! I borrowed the text description of the piece from the
National Maritime Museum, in Greenwich, London. To view larger images of all the material, see:
Obverse: Port bow view of the US Frigate 'Constellation' under sail. Legend: 'U.S. FRIGATE CONSTELLATION'. Exergue: '1797'.
Reverse: An eagle carrying the arms of the United States, below inscription between a carronade and a cannon. Inscription: 'THIS COIN STRUCK FROM PARTS OF THE FRIGATE CONSTELLATION THE FIRST SHIP OF THE U.S. NAVY'.
In an earlier article Max Speigel wrote:
As far as I know the USS Constellation medals made from copper from the ship entitled the possessor to free admission to the ship, which is now docked in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. I have heard that they will still let you enter for free if you show them one of the medals, but I have not tried it myself so I cannot say whether this is true.
The order form confirms this free admission offer.
Dick Graham adds:
For your information, my son and his children, recently toured the Constellation in Baltimore Harbor, utilizing their Medals.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
THE U. S. FRIGATE CONSTELLATION MEDALS
BILL FIVAZ AND THE U. S. FRIGATE CONSTELLATION MEDALS
MORE ON THE U.S. SHIP/FRIGATE CONSTITUTION
Wayne Homren, Editor
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