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Three U.S. Grant Political Pieces

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The Gettysburg Reunion thread across the street inspired me to post this group of U.S. Grant pieces. These two medalets and one medal were issued in connection with his presidential campaigns.


Grant was not at Gettysburg because he was busy winning the siege of Vicksburg, which was almost as important as the Gettysburg battle. Vicksburg was the South’s last stronghold on the Mississippi River and once it was taken, the Confederacy was cut in two. This piece was issued just after Vicksburg and was re-issued when Grant ran for President in 1868. This medalet is fairly common, but most examples I have seen show signs of circulation. This piece could have listed as a Civil War token, but it's not in the book.





This second medalet features the famous Grant quote, “I intend to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.” Grant made this comment in a dispatch to Washington on May 11, 1864 just before the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. It was a significant statement, but previous Union generals had fought major battles and then retired to rest their men, much to the consternation of Abraham Lincoln. He wanted a general who would fight hard, and Grant filled the bill perfectly.


This piece is quite common, but many examples are weakly struck on Grant’s face. This one is about as good as it gets in that regard. This piece was issued during Grant's 1868 presidential campaign.




This large medal (50 mm) was also issued during the 1868 presidential campaign. It refers to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. During that event Grant granted liberal terms of surrender to Lee and his men. The offices were allowed to keep their sidearms although the rifles, as shown on the medal, had to be stacked. More importantly the men were allowed to take their horses because they would need them for spring planting.


This medal is fairly scarce, but it does show up from time to time in exonumia auctions. It was only struck in white metal.




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I don't think I've ever seen an example of the first one without the hole. It is listed in DeWitt as USG 1868-35.


The second one can be found without the hole fairly easily. It is listed as USG 1868-30.


The thing about the hole is that it shows that the piece was intended to be used as a political button, and not something that was made for collectors. For that reason many advanced political items collectors prefer the holed pieces. On the other hand many collectors will pay more for pieces in silver that were obviously made for collectors. I'm not one of those collectors.


The big medal would probably be worth less if it were holed. That is listed as USG 1868-4. Generally the bigger the piece is, lower the variety number. The exceptions are the ferotypes, which are number after the tokens, medalets and medals.

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These are very cool, Bill. Would you happen to know what patent was applied for with respect to the reverse of the large white metal piece? hm


Hi, Tom!


If I were to hazard a guess, it would probably be for the plowshare. Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't earlier ones made of wood?




PS. 8 TO GO!!!

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I believe that the patent was for the design of the medal. I recall seeing other 19th century tokens and medals that stated a patent had been granted for them.

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The history of the Civil War is fascinating, and Bill's pieces help preserve that history. Sometimes, I get a little worried that most of our society has forgotten (or never learned) our formative past.

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