1781 RARE Daniel Morgan Comitia Americana medal Battle of Cowpens Betts-593
Rare medal, Less than 20 examples known.
Daniel Morgan 1781 Comitia Americana medal for the Battle of Cowpens. Copper. 56.3 mm., 84.0 grams. Designed by Augustin Dupré. The incredibly detailed obverse of this medal depicts Morgan on horseback leading a charge into battle. This design is arguably the most detailed and artistically executed medal to come of the French mint during the late 18th century - and perhaps the finest ever. The reverse depicts a allegorical depiction of a Native American princess presenting a crown of laurels to Morgan. Barre strike from replacement dies circa 1839.
General Daniel Morgan was the commander of the Continental Army during the January 17, 1781 American victory at the Cowpens, South Carolina. The Americans soundly defeated the British during this important victory which was the turning point of the Revolutionary war. After their defeat, the British began a slow retreat into their coastal strongholds in Charleston, Wilmington, and Savannah in the South, while Cornwallis headed north towards Virginia where he eventually surrendered at Yorktown nine months later.
Morgan was awarded a gold medal by the Continental Congress, one of only eleven Comitia Americana medals awarded to Military leaders during the Revolutionary War by Congress.
Daniel Morgan's original gold medal was stolen during an April 6, 1818 bank robbery at the Farmer's and Mechanic's Bank of Pittsburgh where it was stored. Morgan Neville, Daniel Morgan's Grandson and heir appealed to Congress to have a replacement medal struck in gold, and Congress enacted a law on July 2, 1836 allowing for the medal to be replaced. Unfortunately, the original dies executed by Dupré could not be located at the Paris Mint, so replacement dies were executed by French engraver Jean-Jacques Barre. The replacement medal was extremely well executed, with the Barre copy dies being made using the original silver Daniel Morgan medal from George Washington's collection. The new gold medal was struck in France sometime in 1839 or 1840 and by that time, Morgan Neville had died, so the medal was presented to his son (Daniel Morgan's great-grandson), Morgan L. Neville. Today the whereabouts of the Barre gold medal is unknown.
Daniel Morgan medals struck fro the original dies by Dupré are extremely rare. Both the Dupré and Barre gold medals are missing. There are three silver Dupré originals known, only one of which is privately held. There are seven copper Dupré originals known, four of which are held institutionally, so only three are known in collector's hands, all entrenched in long-term important collections. Original Daniel Morgan medals struck by Dupré's dies are virtually uncollectible. If one of these were to come into the marketplace, it is possible it would realize over $100,000 at auction.
Collectors of the Comitia Americana series collect the Daniel Morgan medals struck from the Barre dies because (while still uncommon) they are more readily available, and have a direct connection to the history of the original medal, and the family of Daniel Morgan. The Barre medals maintain the beautiful design and were executed using an original medal and struck in Paris as were the original medals. We estimate there are only 12-20 examples of this medal known.
Beautiful detailed AU example with a tiny rim bump on the reverse, and some light hairlines (not really visible to the naked eye) in the reverse upper field. Overall a really pleasing example of this beautiful medal.