Six Indian treaty medals bring thousands at auction

A day before the latest edition of CCN (Vol. 59 #1) went to print, the latest offering from the Donald G. Partrick Collection crossed the block south of the border.

On March 17, bidders vied for six Canadian Indian treaty medals among the 510 lots offered during the two-day sale.

Conducted by Heritage Auctions, the sale was just the latest of several offerings from the Partrick Collection, the first part of which went to auction in 2015, when 354 of his U.S. colonial coins brought nearly $26 million US. Between last October and this January, another four sales offered his Connecticut coppers; hard-times tokens and merchant tokens; merchant counterstamps; and more colonial rarities.

This March, his New Jersey coppers were the sales focus; however, tucked among a 53-lot section of tokens and medals were six Indian treaty medals – one from 1871 (Lot 15184), two from 1873 (Lot 15185–86) and three from 1875 (Lot 15187 and 15486–87). Each one was offered with no reserve price and sold for thousands of dollars.

Each of the medals, which were dated 1871, 1873 and 1875, depicts then-monarch Queen Victoria on the obverse (Lot 15184 shown).

The top-selling lot, an 1871-dated Treaty No. 1 medal, brought $14,400 US (about $17,900 Cdn.). Certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. as AU (About Uncirculated) Details, the medal has a scratch on the reverse as noted on its holder.

Despite several “wispy pinscratches” in reverse field, the 76-millimetre silver medal is a major Canadian rarity,” according to auctioneers, who add its among the very rarest of all Canadian numbered treaty medals.”

To say the Treaty No. 1 medal is a rarity is an understatement. There were eight signatories to the treaty, and probably no more than that were issued retroactively. The only other example we are aware of is held by the Manitoba Museum.”

The example on offer this March – with an original hanger and suspension loop – was held in Partrick’s collection for more than 30 years.

The medal was also previously owned by Winnipeg dealer Ian Laing, the owner of Gatewest Coin, plus Montréal numismatist Warren Baker and late U.S. sportscaster Chris Schenkel.

A future edition of CCN will feature a full review of the Indian treaty medals’ sale with comments from Canadian numismatist Jacob Lipson, who’s also a cataloguer with Heritage Auctions.

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