Coin Update posted an article by Dave Bowers on the Eccleston 1805 Washington medal taken from the book 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens. Here's an excerpt. See the book or the complete article online for more.
Among numismatically popular early medals associated with the life of George Washington, the Eccleston medal of 1805, from dies cut by Thomas Webb, is certainly the largest (76 millimeters), and it is among the most interesting.
At first glance, this seems to be a satirical medal. Washington is encased in a heavy suit of armor,
a singular conceit, noted W.S. Baker in his 1875 book on Washingtoniana. At the center of the reverse is an Indian (Native American) with the surrounding inscription, THE LAND WAS OURS. It seems that Eccleston, a highly eccentric Englishman, meant the medal as a tribute.
According to his own account, Eccleston spent time in America in the late 18th century and was Washington's guest at Mount Vernon. No confirmation of this has been found.
Eccleston wrote to Thomas Jefferson in May 1807, and he enclosed a specimen of the Eccleston medal, which is in the collection of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and is on display at Monticello:
I beg your acceptance of a Medallion of your Great Predecessor in the high station which you at present so worthily fill, which I have lately had struck off to his memory, and request the favours of your forwarding a couple to the honourable Bushrod Washington [Washington's nephew, a Supreme Court justice at the time], for himself, and Judge Marshall.
Notwithstanding the Date on the Medallion, these are some of the first I have issued. I believe it is the largest medal, and in the highest relief that has been struck off in this country for some time.
If it would not be occupying too much of your time, I should be glad just to be informed of the safe arrival of this small parcel and I am,
Sir, Your assured friend, Daniel Belteshazzar Plantagenet Eccleston
To read the complete article, see:
Bowers on Collecting: American medals to the fore — the 1805 Eccleston medal
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BIBLE LORE AND THE ETERNAL FLAME
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