The unique gold Comitia Americana medal for Daniel Morgan at Cowpens is on display at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. Here's the press release.
A unique gold medal celebrating
the Revolutionary War victory by Brigadier General Daniel Morgan over British Army
forces in the 1781 Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina is making its first appearance
since it sold at auction for $960,000 in April 2022. It apparently also is the first time it is
available for general public viewing since its creation in 1839.
The winning bidder in the Stack's Bowers auction, Brian Hendelson, president of
Classic Coin Company (www.ClassicCoinCompany.com) in Bridgewater, New Jersey,
has loaned the historic Daniel Morgan at Cowpens medal and its original red leather
and purple velvet presentation case to the Museum of the American Revolution in
Insured now for more than $1 million, it is a featured part of an exhibit entitled
War with a South Carolina Regiment, 1779-1782 that is now on display at the museum.
‘I've collected early Americana for many years, including historical treasures from
the Revolutionary War period. Adding the Daniel Morgan at Cowpens gold medal to my collection certainly is a tremendous honor. It commemorates an important event in early
American history and honors a Revolutionary War hero who often is overlooked today,
After 182 years hidden away with previous owners, I'm delighted to loan this
national treasure to the museum so it now can be seen and appreciated by many
people, he explained.
The medal is cataloged as Betts-593, Julian MI-7, Loubat 8.
Morgan led his Continental troops in a decisive victory over British Lieutenant
Colonel Banastre Tarleton on January 17, 1781 at what is now the Cowpens National
Battlefield in Gaffney, South Carolina.
The Museum's description of the battle states:
The Battle of Cowpens turned the
tide of the war in the South. While British forces still held the coastal cities of Charleston
and Savannah, the Revolutionaries gradually reclaimed control of the countryside.
In March 1781, Congress authorized the creation of a large gold medal to honor
Morgan. Struck in Paris by the French engraver Augustin Dupre, it measured 56
millimeters in diameter and weighed 4.8 troy ounces.
Morgan received the medal in 1790. He died in 1802 and his one-of-a-kind gold
medal was among the items stolen in a burglary at the Pittsburgh Farmers and
Mechanics Bank 1818. It was never recovered.
Morgan's grandson, Morgan Lafayette Neville, was an executive of the bank. In
1819, he began efforts to get a replacement medal, including writing to former President
Thomas Jefferson who carried the original medal with him when he returned from Paris
in 1789 to become the first U.S. Secretary of State.
Eventually, in July 1836, Congress approved "An Act to renew the gold medal
struck and presented to General Morgan, by order of Congress, in honor of the battle of
Cowpens." But the grandson died three years later in March 1839 before the medal was
Finally, in December 1839, based on the design from Paris used to create the
stolen and missing medal, the Philadelphia Mint struck a single Morgan at Cowpens
medal weighing 4.79 ounces of fine gold. It was subsequently presented in 1841 to
Morgan's great-grandson Morgan Lafayette Neville, Jr. and it remained in the family
until 1914. Since then, it has been privately owned by others including the family of
banker, financier, and philanthropist John Pierpont Morgan Jr.
Known as the Comitia Americana (Latin for American Congress) series,
Congress authorized only seven gold medals for heroes of the American Revolution.
However, apparently only six were actually made for individual recipients and the
Morgan medal is the only one now privately owned.
The six who received medals were General George Washington, General Horatio
Gates, General Anthony Wayne, Gen. Nathanael Greene, Captain John Paul Jones
(whose original medal has not been seen since his death in 1792 and may have been
melted), and General Daniel Morgan. A medal authorized for General Henry Lee
apparently was never stuck.
The nonprofit Museum of the American Revolution is located at 101 South 3rd St.
near Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission tickets can be purchased by calling 215-253-6731, obtained for a $3 discount
www.AmRevMuseum.org, or purchased at the museum's front desk.
For additional information about Classic Coin Company, visit
www.ClassicCoinCompany.com or call 908-725-5600.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
GOLD MORGAN COMITIA AMERICANA SURFACES
Wayne Homren, Editor
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