Two rare Canadian medals bring thousands at auction

A rare 1794 George III “Indian Peace” silver medal was the top-earning Canadian lot of Heritage Auctions’ Nov. 24 sale of the Dresden Collection of British and Betts Medals.

Certified as About Uncirculated-53 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. (NGC), it measures 32 millimetres and brought $3,840 (including buyer’s premium).

A “very small” silver medal was issued in 1794 for presentation to Indigenous chiefs, according to Melvill Alan Jamieson’s 1961 book, Medals Awarded to North American Indian Chiefs 1714-1922, but little contemporary information was available.

In April 1793, Upper Canada Governor John Graves Simcoe requested the now-defunct Colonial Office to send flags bearing the Arms of Upper Canada for presentation to chiefs; however, he also remembered he previously ordered 200 silver medals for the same purpose a year earlier.

“As no trace of any such medals can be found, it is probable that this small one dated 1794 may have been substituted, and as only very few are known, it is of great rarity,” writes Jamieson.

Another silver medal, this an undated ‘Upper Canada Preserved’ issued circa 1817, also sold for $3,720, including buyer’s premium. (Photo by NGC)

‘UPPER CANADA PRESERVED’

An undated “Upper Canada Preserved” silver medal (Leroux 866) issued circa 1817, following the War of 1812, also crossed the block for $3,720 (including buyer’s premium).

Certified as Mint State-64 by NGC, the medal reads “PRESENTED BY A GRATEFUL COUNTRY / FOR MERIT” on the reverse with a lion, eagle and beaver on the obverse. It measures 51 millimetres and is numbered on its edge with “55.”

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