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Commems Collection Medals: 1952 West Point Sesquicentennial

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 Posted 10/22/2021  12:19 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Collectors of modern US commemorative coins are likely aware of the 2002 silver dollar that celebrated the 200th anniversary of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY.

2002 US Military Academy Bicentennial

Lesser known is the commemorative medal issued back in 1952 to help mark the 150th anniversary of the US Military Academy's founding. The bronze medal was designed by Laura Gardin Fraser. It was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York; 2" and 3" diameter formats were struck.

From the web site of the United States Military Academy (

"West Point's role in our nation's history dates back to the Revolutionary War, when both sides realized the strategic importance of the commanding plateau on the west bank of the Hudson River. General George Washington considered West Point to be the most important strategic position in America. Washington personally selected Thaddeus Kosciuszko, one of the heroes of Saratoga, to design the fortifications for West Point in 1778, and Washington transferred his headquarters to West Point in 1779. Continental soldiers built forts, batteries and redoubts and extended a 150-ton iron chain across the Hudson to control river traffic. Fortress West Point was never captured by the British, despite Benedict Arnold's treason. West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America.

Several soldiers and legislators, including Washington, Knox, Hamilton and John Adams, desiring to eliminate America's wartime reliance on foreign engineers and artillerists, urged the creation of an institution devoted to the arts and sciences of warfare.

President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation establishing the United States Military Academy in 1802. He took this action after ensuring that those attending the Academy would be representative of a democratic society."

The obverse of the medal features three primary elements: a laurel wreath of Peace (at the rear), a torch of Leadership placed in front of the wreath and a sword of Valor superimposed on the torch. The commemorative dates "1802" and "1952" flank the central torch/sword with a commemorative inscription encircling the center elements at the medal's rim - "UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY" above, and "SESQUICENTENNIAL" at the bottom.

The medal's reverse is dominated by the Coat-of-Arms (CoA) of the Academy, with a rising sun presented in the background behind the eagle that surmounts the US shield. From the USMA Fact Sheet, upon the shield of the CoA is depicted "an emblem that consist[s] of a sword, a universal symbol of war, and the helmet of Pallas Athena. Athena, a fully armed mythological goddess, is associated with the arts of war, and her helmet signifies wisdom and learning." The design also includes the inscriptions "WEST POINT" at the top and "DUTY - HONOR - COUNTRY" below; the inscription is the motto of the Academy. The motto is also seen on the ribbon around the eagle. The eagle is shown clutching 13 arrows (representing the 13 original states of the Union); it is flanked by branches of oak (left) symbolizing strength and independence, and an olive branch (right) symbolizing peace.

Many were given to schools, museums, libraries, etc. Examples of the medal were also given to the parents/guardians of cadets who entered the Academy in 1952.

1952 US Military Academy Sesquicentennial Medal - 3"

For more on the 2002 West Point silver dollar:

- 2002 West Point Bicentennial - John Mercanti Coins Thread
- 2002 West Point Bicentennial - Coins Depictine Places Thread

Read More: Commems Collection
Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
10/22/2021 1:41 pm
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