Comitia Americana Medals -- Libertas Americana
The Libertas Americana medal was created under the direction of Benjamin Franklin. While stationed in France during the American Revolutionary War, Franklin received a detailed account of the Yorktown victory and was soon tasked to create a monument in its honor. Franklin responded with a proposal for a medal, rather than a monument, in which the United States would be depicted as the infant Hercules in cradle, strangling the two serpent sent by Hera; above him France personified as Athena (Minerva) would act as his nurse and mentor. The design became the medal's reverse was further developed by both painter Esprit-Antoine Gibelin and engraver Augustin Dupré, each of whom furthered the design of France to also be seen as the protector of the infant as she fights the lioness Britannia who pounces at the child. The obverse iconography depicts Liberty with flowing hair. The obverse image would become the typical image of early American coinage.
- Description (Brief)
- One (1) Libertas Americana medal, original strike (Comitia Americana)
- United States (France), 1782
- Obverse Image: Bust of Liberty with flowing hair, facing left; over her shoulder she holds a pole with a Phrygian cap at the end to symbolize freedom.
- Obverse Text: LIBERTAS / AMERICANA / JUIL. / 1776
- Reverse Image: A standing female figure of Minerva representing France with sword and shield decorated with the arms of France protecting an infant Hercules representing the United States strangling two snakes; Minerva stands facing a standing Lion, with tail between its legs, representing Great Britain.
- Reverse Text: NON / SINE / DIIS / ANIMOSUS / INFANS / 17 / OCT. / 1777 / 19 [OCT.] 1781
- General Information: Paris Mint, original dies.
- Designed in 1782, by Benjamin Franklin and Esprit-Antoine Giblein, this medal was created to commemorate America's Revolutionary War military victories. Franklin conceived the idea as a private project to enhance Franco-American relations.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- obverse engraver
- Dupre, Augustin
- reverse engraver
- Dupre, Augustin
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center