COLLECTION: Numismatics

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Washington Funeral medal

Origin: America, Massachusetts, Newburyport
Diameter; 29 mm
Gift of the Lasser family
Acc. No. 2003-22,89
Label:February 1800 saw two huge funeral processions held for George Washington in Boston. The first was a Masonic function attended by an estimated 1600 brethren, while the larger, public one was held on Washington's birthday. Medals were made to be worn by mourners at these processions, with gold specimens going to those who were close to Washington.

This well-worn medal was struck from the identical obverse die as the gold version, but the reverse bears a skull and cross bones - a strikingly direct allusion to the mortality of the beloved man. The reverse legends are more expansive than that on the gold "urn" medal, and are abbreviations for Born February 11, 1732, General of the American Armies 1775, Resigned 1783, President of the United States of America 1789-96, General of the Army of the United States of America 1798, Died December 15, 1799.