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"Libertas Americana" Medal

ca. 1783
Origin: Europe, France, Paris
Diameter: 48 mm
Gift of the Lasser Family
Acc. No. 2004-8,63
Label:Among the United States' founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin stands out not only as a brilliant, talented statesman and ambassador but also as a clever inventor and designer. Clearly understanding the symbolic and functional importance of a new nation's currency, he was also involved in many different aspects of numismatics.

Conceived and largely financed by Benjamin Franklin, the "Libertas Americana" medal has been considered to be one of history's most beautiful designs since its creation in 1783. Struck in France to commemorate American independence, the obverse is graced with a magnificently executed bust of the goddess Liberty, with a liberty cap and pole behind. The design was so popular that a slightly different version was used on the cents struck by the United States Mint between 1793 and 1796.