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‘Priceless’ Revolutionary War medal goes on display

(Credit: ©Fort Ticonderoga/Photographer Miranda Peters (12-2017)

A original Society of the Cincinnati gold eagle medal, considered to be one of the main objects of the nation’s founding” to go on display at the Fort Ticonderoga in New York.

The “priceless” medal, one of only two examples produced in Paris in 1783, was made available for purchase by officers of the Continental Army, the group of soldiers under the command of General George Washington, formed by the Second Continental Congress to fight against Great Britain in the Revolutionary War.

“The value of the medal is not only in extreme rarity, but in the cultural and historical significance to the founding principles of the United States of America,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO, in a statement.

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Hill added that Fort Ticonderoga, with North America’s largest 18th-century artillery collection, is “delighted to have such an important piece of American history with our guests. The exhibition, including this rare coin is an example of the breadth and importance of the Fort Ticonderoga’s museum collections and as a place to explore the origins of our nation’s rich military culture.”

The Society of the Cincinnati, the country’s oldest patriotic organization, founded by officers of the Continental Army in 1783. To demonstrate that a member was, the medals were commissioned by Pierre Charles L’enfant. Only 140 of them were made by jewelers Duval and Francastel in Paris and were sold to members of the society of Cincinnati.

This medal was the property of Captain Richard Douglass of New London, Connecticut., known for serving the duration of the War. He also witnessed the British surrender in Yorktown on Oct. 19, 1781.

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Douglass was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati, which is still active today. Alexander Hamilton was one of the original members, such as Henry Knox, the founder of the society.

The medal is on loan to the fort of the Robert Nittolo Collection, “the largest and most important private collection of 18th-century militaria in North America,” and the public will start on 4 July.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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