The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 41, September 30, 2012, Article 20


Bob Fritsch alerted me to a blog post by Don Scarinci on die varieties of the Washington Before Boston medal. -Editor

Washington Before Boston original

September 8, 2012: Washingtonia was the topic of this year’s gathering of the colonial coin elite at Rodger Siboni’s home in New Jersey. New finds and discoveries were presented and some significant collections of Washingtonia were displayed. The highlight, in my opinion, was a New Jersey collector’s set of Washington inaugural buttons, in a condition that had been previously thought to be impossible.

This annual event always attracts some of the most knowledgeable authorities on colonial coins. It was the perfect venue to present the results of my research on the new die emission sequence for the Washington Before Boston Medal. I knew that I could count on constructive criticism and thoughtful evaluation of my evidence. Combining my research on the Paris Mint, my knowledge of colonial coins and my newly acquired skills with a digital camera, I looked at the Washington Before Boston medals with a fresh perspective. Additional information and the results of my analysis will be published in a different forum, but the immediate access to information available online allows me to share the summary with other numismatists. Surprisingly, we have waited for correct information on this topic for a longer period than the 14 years George Washington had to wait for the medal that the Continental Congress awarded to him in 1776.

Information about the history of the Washington Before Boston medal is available in several reference books, but the most thorough and recent source is Comitia Americana and Related Medals by John W. Adams and Anne E. Bentley, published by George Frederick Kolbe in 2007. This book is a wonderful piece of scholarship and contains important primary source information about all ten of the medals that were awarded by the Continental Congress.

To read the complete blog post, see: Die Varieties of the “Washington Before Boston” Medal (

Don Scarinci writes:

Until the book for Roger Siboni's September 8 Colonial Coin Symposium on Washingtonia is published next year, this is the only place this information is available. Collectors have already waited too long for a die emission sequence of the Washington Before Boston medal--longer than George Washington had to wait for his gold medal. I didn't want them to have to wait another 6 months so I posted the summary of my findings on my blog with pictures that can be blown up when you click on them for easy identification. I bet there are a lot of people out there who have one of these medals in their collection but have no idea which restrike it might be or even what mint it might be from. We are only going to begin to get an accurate census when the correct information is made available so collectors can identify what they have and report it.

Curious to know if this work is an updating of Glenn A. Mooney’s 1976 study, Don Scarinci adds:

No. It appears that one of the reasons there has been so much confusion about the varieties of the Washington Before Boston medals is that numismatists have relied more on previous studies than upon their observations of the medals themselves. The shells and waxes of these medals produced at the Paris Mint have also added to the confusion. The result has been a constant repetition of past errors in auction catalogs and publications like the idea that the F2 (error reverse) was actually struck BEFORE F1 . Even in John Adam's recent book he considers the corrected error reverse as a separate variety and he accepts this as well as the error reverse (F2) as "originals" along with F1.

My study of the Washington Before Boston medal is completely new and based upon a close examination of the medals themselves using high resolution photography to closely examine the details of the medals. The more elaborate version of my Colonial Coin Symposium presentation/blog post will eventually be published in the symposium book. I just didn't want collectors to have to wait for it when there is an online medium that could get this summary version out there quickly. The sooner collectors begin to identify and report the correct variety of the Washington Before Boston medal in their collection the sooner we will have a census of the varieties. Right now, any speculation about rarity for any varieties other than F1, F2 and F2.1 is just that, speculation.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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