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Commems Collection Medals: 2012-2015 War Of 1812 Bicentennial

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 Posted 09/20/2021  4:06 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
The United States' "Second War of Independence" - the War of 1812 - was not directly commemorated by the US with any legal tender commemorative coins - though some like to consider the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Bicentennial gold and silver coins to be such considering their obvious link to the War. A number of privately-struck medals were struck for the War's 200th anniversary, including an attractive one sponsored by the Naval Historical Foundation.

The medal was struck by the Northwest Territorial Mint and was sold by the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF); the NHF referred to the piece as "the U.S. sea services War of 1812 Bicentennial Medal / Challenge Coin." The medal recognized the US Navy, the US Marine Corps and the US Coast Guard. The price charged for the 1-3/4" bronze medal was $15.00 - quite reasonable IMO.

The obverse of the medal features a three-masted sailing ship under fulls sail at sea. It appears that the ship carried 18 or 20 main cannons, based on the visible gun ports. A ring of 15 stars encircles the central design (there were 15 states in the Union in 1812) with the inscriptions "BICENTENNIAL OF THE WAR OF 1812" and "OUR FLAG WAS STILL THERE" forming the outer border of the design near the rim. The design is enhanced with red, white and blue enamel.

The medal's reverse includes a pair of crossed swords with a circle superimposed. The circle features a waving, present-day US flag with a foul anchor superimposed; a foul anchor is one with a rope or other cable around its stock and/or flukes. Above the circle, at the 12 o'clock position, is seen "2012" and below it, at the 6 o'clock position, is found "2015" - the bicentennial commemorative dates. Encircling the anchor design are 13 stars. The stars are symbolic of the original 13 colonies/states and pay homage to the importance of US sea power from the very start of the nation. At the rim above the design elements is the inscription "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP" (uttered by a mortally wounded Captain James Lawrence while on the USS Chesapeake as it battled the HMS Shannon (a battle it lost) - Captain Oliver Hazard Perry made Lawrence's last order famous when he had it added to his naval ensign and flew it on his ship while successfully battling the British on Lake Erie.) The inscription "USN - USMC - USCG" (US Navy - US Marine Corps - US Coast Guard) is seen below central devices near the rim.

A one-inch lapel pin with the same obverse design was also available; its issue price was just $7.00.

Funds raised by sales of the medal and pin went to supporting the NHF's objectives of preservation, education and commemoration regarding naval history.

My only "complaint" about the piece is that it did not mention the US Merchant Marine. The War of 1812 was largely caused by the British capturing of US merchant ships and impressing their sailors into the British Navy or merchant fleet. At the time the US Navy had about two dozen ships and could not possibly have successfully battled the British Navy without US merchant ships and sailors arming themselves and going to battle against the British.

I was fortunate to acquire one of these medals as a sample piece directly from Northwest Territorial Mint when I was exploring options for production of a medal for my local coin club. I recall not being familiar with the piece when I received it, but was happy to add it to my collection of commemorative coins and medals.

War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemorative Medal / Challenge Coin

Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
09/20/2021 4:07 pm
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 Posted 09/20/2021  4:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting medal and story, thanks!
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 Posted 09/21/2021  8:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add retiredkper to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There was a big celebration in 1912 honoring Perry's victory centennial with some really interesting medals being issued. Google it and you will probably do a lot of reading.
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 Posted 09/22/2021  05:30 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice medal and story behind it. Thanks
Take a look at my other hobby ...
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