RI Ship Token Wreath Below, Brass MS (PCGS# 587)
The August 2011 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money Auction
Lot Number: 6040
View the Original Auction
"1779" (Circa 1780) Rhode Island Ship Medal. Betts-563, W-1740. URS-9. Wreath Below Ship. Brass. MS-61 (PCGS). CAC. The mysterious Rhode Island Ship medals or tokens are generally thought to have been struck in England circa 1780 for a Dutch speaking market. One side of the medal depicts the retreat of the American Continental Army from Rhode Island in 1778 while the other shows the flagship of Britain's Admiral Lord Richard Howe. Although the depiction of Howe's flagship is generally thought to be satirical --thus alluding to the eventual British flight from Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island in 1779 -- some numismatic researchers suggests that the medal is entirely pro British in design and intent. One of these numismatists, John Kleeberg (quoted in Q. David Bowers' <em>Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins</em>, 2009) even suggests that the Rhode Island Ship medals are of Dutch manufacture and were produced at a time when that country was debating whether or not to enter the wider War for Empire that included the American Revolution (the Dutch eventually declared war on Great Britain).<br> </br> This is one of the nicest brass impressions of any variety or type of Rhode Island Ship medal ever to pass through this cataloger's (Jeff Ambio's) hands. Bathed in dominant brassy-gold color, a few small swirls and spots of charcoal tinting have minimal effect on the outward appearance of this piece. Sharply defined throughout, and free of troublesome abrasions or other handling marks. Wreath Below Ship type, the ornament added to the die after the word VLUGTENDE (Fleeing) was removed.