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1799 Washington "Victor Sine Clade" Funeral Urn Medal Translates "Victorious Without Suffering Loss" Baker 164
1799 Washington "Victor Sine Clade" Funeral Medal, Struck in White Metal, Baker 164, Musante GW-76. Certified and graded by the ANAAB on August 18, 1998 (AB 6356). Not Holed. Very Fine.
67.79 grams. Not Holed, thus extremely rare and grades Very Fine in detail. Some old graffiti within some of the obverse fields and with some light rim dings on the reverse. Obviously this example was actually carried by a George Washington devote as a remembrance or commemorative tribute piece. The Victor Sine Clade medal is a most beautifully produced piece of American history. Any decent quality example would be a highlight to any collection of George Washington related items. The legend, "Victor Sine Clade", located in the center of the pedestal holding the Funerary Urn, roughly translates to "Victorious Without Suffering Loss." This is a very rare type and it is one of the more popular and important Washington Medals, in part because it is a Funeral Medal and in perhaps greater part because the designer of this medal, Dudley A. Tyng of Newburyport, Mass., also designed the "Skull and Crossbones" and Urn Funeral Medals. Russ Rulau and George Fuld estimated that only "...2 or 3 known in decent condition." How many "indecent" condition examples exist is unclear, but we suspect that fewer than 10 examples are known in all qualities at best. This example, unlike most of the others, has not been holed for suspension and one of only a few existing not holed. An example in similar quality but much more common example struck in Lead, NGC VF Details "Damaged" sold at Heritage in June 2016 for $3,877 (although not valued as highly in lead, with some considering the lead examples to be trial strikes). The current medal, which is struck in White Metal, is Accompanied by ANACS/ANAAB Authentication and Grade Photo-Certificate, dated August 18, 1998, AB 6356.
On December 14, 1799, George Washington passed away at Mount Vernon, just two years after retiring as President of the United States. Upon his death, any hint of criticism from his presidency faded as the nation pondered his heroism and legacy. Major General Henry Lee, Washington's protg and close friend, prepared a hastily written eulogy which contained the phrase, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." This phrase would be recited in schools for decades following, and become the motto engraved on many numismatic pieces bearing Washington's portrait. Ironically, General Henry Lee would father Robert E. Lee, a man who would nearly succeed in breaking apart the union that his father and Washington had fought to establish.

While the American people were deeply moved over Washington's passing, mementos and Washington-related items became extremely popular. Among the many funeral processions organized throughout the nation, two of the largest and most publicized were held in Boston, one on January 9 (according to Musante), and another on February 11, 1800. A 69-day public mourning period culminated on February 22, Washington's birthday.

The smaller medals were advertised as early as January 3. Of the many memorial items advertised for sale was the Victor Sine Clade funeral medal. The medal was advertised in the Massachusetts Mercury on February 11, 1800, the same day as the funeral procession conducted by the Freemasons. Like the other medals, it was intended to be worn at the event. Musante's Medallic Washington notes that the piece has strong Masonic association, as it was offered for sale at Masonic locations.

The Victor Sine Clade funeral medal is attributed as Baker-164 and listed in Musante's Medallic Washington as GW-76. The obverse is a well-executed bust of Washington in military attire inside a laurel wreath. The legend on the reverse is the same as on the obverse of the smaller funeral urn medal: "HE IS IN GLORY, THE WORLD IN TEARS." The phrase on the pedestal "VICTOR SINE CLADE" originates from the Odes, a collection of Latin lyric poems by Horace. The poem describes Tiberius's victory over the Rhaeti, and the phrase means "victor without a rout," or "victorious without suffering loss."

The dies were cut by Jacob Perkins of Newburyport, MA, an extremely talented bank note engraver, and the designs were supplied by Dudley A. Tyng, a well-respected lawyer who was appointed by Washington himself in 1795 to be the first Customs Collector at Newburyport. Perkins is also responsible for producing the smaller funeral medals, which came in many varieties and were widely distributed. They were well-advertised by him, with one ad claiming that as many as 5,000 could be struck in a day. The larger medal cost more to produce, and only a handful survive today. All of the funeral medals were struck in early 1800.

The Victor Sine Clade medal is noted among the rarest of Washington medals, and the piece is missing from many prominent collections because it is extremely difficult to acquire, especially in respectable condition. Many of the surviving examples are in poor shape. The wear and abuse these medals normally see resemble that of awarded Indian peace medals. In the same way, most were holed for suspension, as in the case of the smaller funeral medals. Nearly all were stuck in white metal, and Neil Musante notes that this medal was recently discovered in silver. Baker documents that imitations cast in lead were "numerous", but it is doubtful if these exist today, and it is certain that none of the originals were made in lead. It is likely he confused these with heavily worn white metal pieces. A metallurgic analysis of an example NGC had certified revealed a composition of about 90% tin and 10% lead.
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