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Abraham Lincoln peace medal, 1st size / United States

Essay/Description

The first Lincoln medals were struck in September of 1862. Also designed by Salathiel Ellis and Joseph Wilson, they used the same “scalping scene” reverse that was used on the Buchanan medal. During Lincoln’s presidency, the federal government was focused more on the Civil War than on Indian relations. Relatively few Lincoln medals were distributed.

Silver peace medals were given to influential Native Americans as a symbol of friendship and allegiance with the United States government. Medals were given on important occasions, like the signing of a treaty, and then only to very influential members of the tribe. The medals held even greater importance than normal during times of war or tension, particularly between the US and Great Britain. The countries would compete for the loyalty and friendship of the tribes, and a chief trading in British medal for a US one signified a change in loyalty (Prucha 2000, xiv). Gradually, the medals original meaning diminished, and they were given

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Title(s): 
Abraham Lincoln peace medal, 1st size
Culture: 
United States
Date: 
circa 1862
Period: 
Historic
Materials/Techniques: 
silver
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
65.44
Previous Number(s): 
6526.44; 65.44
Department: 
Not On View

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