1861 George Washington medal

Sue F. writes: I have a medal that has George Washington on the front and it says “THE CONSTITUTION IS SACREDLY OBLIGATORY ON ALL” On the back it says: U.S. MINT OATH OF ALLEGIANCE TAKEN BY THE OFFICERS AND WORKMEN SEPT. 9 1861 JAS. POLLOCK DIR. It’s around the size of a quarter. Is this a rare medal, how many were made and what approximately is it’s value? I’d appreciate any information you have.

This medal took advantage of the extreme popularity of Washington medals during the first months of the Civil War. This medal and another, with a special reverse with only a plain wreath enclosing an open space, were sold to the public until 1865. The latter were used as marksmanship prizes by the Philadelphia Rifle Club.

The medal is 31mm in diameter and they were struck in gold, silver, copper and aluminum. Anthony C. Paquet was the designer.

In 1861 only one gold example were made, 51 silver and 250 copper. An aluminum piece (alumininum was considered a precious metal in this era) may be unique. Only the copper pieces are generally available in the market and exist in much larger numbers than indicated by the initial minting. Approximate Value Range: $50 – $75+.