Pete Smith writes:
I have been in Baltimore twice for ANA conventions and several times for the Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention run by Gordon Berg and Ed Kuzmar. On my first visit I recall reading about the USS Constellation and seeing the exhibit in the Baltimore Convention Center. I was amused because I had also seen a coin exhibit that explained that the story was false.
The original Constellation, built around 1797, was dismantled in 1853. At the same time a new ship was being constructed in the same shipyard. Apparently some pieces of the old ship were incorporated into the new ship. This may have been a form of recycling or a way to pass the heritage of the old ship on to the new. The ship now seen in Baltimore harbor first sailed in 1854.
Nails used as relics to raise funds for restoration may have been from the original ship but it was the second ship that was restored with these funds.
Some authorities in Baltimore are aware that they have an 1854 ship. Some apparently still cling to a belief, either that they have the 1797 ship, or that the 1797 ship was restored in 1854 rather than being dismantled with a new ship being built.
History sometimes takes a convoluted path to the future. The point about the "1797" ship was mentioned in earlier E-Sylum article, including the one Dave Lange cites below. Wikipedia has the story as well. It's still a nice "made-from" medal and an interesting vessel to tour. It's just not a ship built in 1797.
Dave Lange adds:
Sorry I missed that one - thanks. It's Dave's March 2007 recounting of a visit he made to the Constellation. Included in the tale are one of the medals, an extended tour of the ship, and a floating corpse, not an ordinary part of a con show side tour.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE CONSTELLATION SOUVENIR MEDAL
Wayne Homren, Editor
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