A George Washington Indian Peace Medal
A George Washington Indian Peace Medal - Silver, marked "COIN SILVER" on the edge, exhibiting a raised rim on both sides, slightly undulated, obverse illustrating a uniformed left-facing George Washington at the right, bareheaded and standing, sharing a peace calumet and having just given it to a right-facing Native Chief at the left, who is smoking it and wearing a peace medal around his neck, a pine tree behind the Native and a tomahawk at his feet, along with a farmer ploughing in the fields in the background behind Washington, inscribed "GEORGE WASHINGTON / PRESIDENT 1795" below, the collage representative of the central justification of American policy toward Native tribes, contrasting the Euro-American definition of civilization with a perceived Native condition of savagery (agriculture versus hunting, settlement versus nomadism, war versus peace, and ultimately, assimilation versus tribalism), reverse illustrating the arms and crest of the United States of America incorporating a spread-winged eagle, a shield on its breast, the dexter talon holding an olive branch, the sinister talon holding a bundle of thirteen arrows that are relatively tight as sketched by Charles Thomson and not splayed like today's version, a ribbon banner in its beak inscribed "E PLURIBUS UNUM" (One Out of Many), a constellation of thirteen stars in a random pattern surrounding the eagle's head, rays of light (glory) breaking through a cloud above, 63 mm x 86.7 mm, loop welded to the top for suspension, contact marks, pitted, very fine. In its hardshelled case of issue, gilt eagle with "P" in its talons on the inside lid, recessed medal bed, brass pull sliding closure at the top, exhibiting extensive wear and overall, exposing the underlying padding and wooden framework inside, case fair. Footnote: During George Washington's presidency, several styles of these medals were created and given to Native leaders. Native Peace medals were produced by the United States government and given to Native leaders in the course of the nation’s negotiations with the multitude of tribes that owned the land coveted by the national and state governments. It is interesting that the original 1795 version of the medal incorporated fifteen stars instead of thirteen, due to the admission of Vermont and Kentucky into the Union, however, this version has only thirteen stars.