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Pryce, Charles __Maker ||Sands, John __Engraver
Place Made:
Baltimore Maryland United States of America
Date Made:
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Medallion of gold, cast with the lost wax process and welded onto a plate to form a back. The cast face features an open-winged eagle with a shield over a globe engraved “America” that surmounts a wreath containing a scene with justice and ship and the date of the British surrender at Yorktown, 19 October 1781, and the message “Our Gratitude.” On the reverse of the medallion is a ring for fastening to a sash and the engraved names of the “Young Men” of Baltimore presenting the medallion to General Lafayette.

INSCRIPTION: Engraved on reverse: “Presented to / Genl. Lafayette / by / A. Denmead / W. Smith / T.M. Miller / W.H. Miller / M.H. Keene / G. Dunan / T.A. Roche / F.B. Booth / E. Duffy / T.P. Redding / O.C. Osborne / R.E. France / A.W. Barnes / W.S. Branson / In behalf of the YOUNG MEN / OF / BALTIMORE / October 1824 / C. Pryce Fecit / J. Sands Sc.” Engraved on face: “Our Gratitude / October 19th, 1781.”

MARK: Engraved at bottom on reverse: “C. Pryce Fecit / J. Sands Sc.”

CONTEXT: This medal was presented to General Lafayette (1757-1834) on 11 October 1824, during his visit to Baltimore. Lafayette revisited the United States in 1824-1825 and was greeted as one of the last living heroes of the American Revolution. In Baltimore the Marquis de Lafayette was given this extraordinary gold medal, which he wore throughout his visit suspended from a ring on a blue sash. The medal was made by Charles Pryce (w.1824-1834) and engraved by J. Sands (w. 1824) and was presented by fourteen men on behalf of the “young men of Baltimore.”

MAKER: Charles Pryce (or Pryse) was working in Baltimore as early as 1824, according to a 23 October account in the Niles Register, which states that the silversmith produced a gold medal presented in Baltimore to General Lafayette. No other documentation links Pryce to that city. An advertisement in the National Intelligencer of Washington for 19 February 1834 states that Pryce “has located himself at his old stand on Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 13th streets, where he continues to manufacture all articles in his line, such as richly-chased coffee and tea sets, pitchers, mugs, cans, tumblers, spoons of all descriptions….and would inform the public that he is the ONLY MANUFACTURER of Silver Plate in this district” (Jacob Hall Pleasants and Howard Sill, “Maryland Silversmiths, 1715-1830” [Baltimore, MD: Lord Baltimore Press, 1930], p. 171).

ENGRAVER: Nothing is known about J. Sands other than that he was identified as the engraver of a medallion given to General Lafayette in 1824 by the Young Men of Baltimore (MESDA Acc. 2380) as well as a watchpaper engraved for Frederick, Maryland clockmaker John Fessler (MESDA Object Database file S-9605).

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. Frank L. Horton