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George Washington’s jewel-encrusted Revolutionary War medal goes on display

The Diamond Eagle medal (with Thanks to the Society of the Cincinnati), and portrait of George Washington by Joseph Wright, 1784. (Courtesy of the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, the Historical society of Pennsylvania Collection)

A magnificent jewel-encrusted medal owned and worn by George Washington, has gone on display in the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.

The exhibition marks only the fourth time that the precious medal was shown publicly in the US

The Diamond Eagle medal is the badge of the office of the president-general of the society of the Cincinnati, which was founded by the european officers of the Army at the end of the Revolutionary War. The society, which takes its name from Cincinnatus, the general credited with saving the Roman republic, is the country’s oldest patriotic organization and aimed at preserving the memory of the American Revolution.

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In command of the officers of the French Navy, the gold and the silver is embedded with almost 200 diamonds, rubies and emeralds. The Diamond Eagle was presented to Washington in May, 1784, at Philadelphia’s City Tavern, near the current Museum of the American Revolution.

The Diamond Eagle medal (with Thanks to the Society of the Cincinnati)

(© 2008 By Mark Finkenstaedt)

The precious medal is surrounded by the tight security of the museum, who, with the help of a specially designed case for the display of the artifact in addition to its Washington’s War tent theatre.

The medal is on view till March 3, 2018.

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“The Diamond Eagle embodies the idea of Washington as the” American Cincinnatus, ” the ultimate citizen-soldier that the well-being of the nation for his own and returned his power back to the people,” said Michael C. Quinn, CEO of the Museum of the American Revolution, in a statement. “It is fitting for us to present in addition to Washington’s War Tent, which means Washington’s selfless devotion to the cause of the Revolution, and his tireless support of his soldiers. We are very grateful to the Society of the Cincinnati for the possible to this precious artifact to the American public.”

The reverse of the Diamond Eagle medal (with Thanks to the Society of the Cincinnati)

(© 2008 By Mark Finkenstaedt)

“We are very pleased to see that the Diamond Eagle again returned to Philadelphia, the city where it was presented to the George Washington,” said Jack D. Warren, Jr., Executive Director of the Society of the Cincinnati, in a statement. “The Diamond Eagle embodies the idea that the American Revolution is an event of transcendent importance in the history of the world. Remembering the Revolution is a charge that is passed from one citizen of our republic to the next, like the Diamond Eagle has been passed down for over 200 years.”

Pierre Charles L’enfant, the French-born military engineer, who in the Revolutionary War and is best known for designing the layout of Washington D. C., the society of the insignia, which is based on the American bald eagle. L’enfant traveled to France in 1783, the Eagle made by the Parisian goldsmiths.

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The display coincides with the exhibition of a painting of the Continental Army camp at Verplanck’s Point, New York, in the autumn of the year 1782. The painting, which experts have attributed to L’enfant, clearly shows Washington’s Tent.

After Washington died in 1799, the medal was sent to Alexander Hamilton, who in the following year, succeeded Washington as president-general of the society of the Cincinnati. Following Hamilton’s death in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804, his widow sent the medal to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, on his election as president-general of the association in 1805. The Diamond Eagle continues to be passed down to each president general.

It may not be immediately learned if the coin is valued.

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Revolutionary War artifacts offer a fascinating glimpse into the events that shaped America. A legendary Revolutionary War musket ball that was melted from a famous fallen statue of King George III, for example, went on display in the Museum of the American Revolution, earlier this year. The Museum also recently shown George Washington’s wing of the Revolutionary War.

An extremely rare silver-hilted sword used by an American officer during the Revolutionary War is set to go on display for the first time in the Museum next year.

In August, a Revolutionary War-era knife was unearthed during an archaeological excavation at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, Michigan, the latest in a series of amazing finds on the site.

The following month, archaeologists in Boston, discovered a centuries-old barn that can be linked to the family of the Patriot Paul Revere.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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