The first Declaration of Independence...

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by RussHJB, Aug 10, 2022.

  1. RussHJB

    RussHJB Active Member

    Recently, we bought a very neat collection with some very cool mint medals in it. This particular one I have never seen. From a Coin Week article by David Provost:

    "In brief, some historians believe that representatives of Mecklenburg County met on May 19 and 20 in 1775 to discuss, debate, and decide what steps would be taken by the county in response to the increasing oppression they were being subject to by King George III, the British Parliament, and local Crown authorities. Further, it is said that the assembled representatives developed a series of resolutions that declared Mecklenburg County’s independence from Great Britain; the document is said to have been read to an assembled public on May 20, 1775 from the steps of the Charlotte Courthouse. If this is all true, then it would be very significant considering it occurred more than a year before the national Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

    As part of the centennial’s commemoration, it was decided by its organizing committee to have a medal struck. In early 1875, William Johnston, a successful North Carolina lawyer and businessman who was then also the Mayor of Charlotte, approached Richard Henry Linderman, Director of the United States Mint, concerning the striking of a commemorative medal to help mark the Centennial.

    A private citizen or group contacting the Director of the Mint directly to get a medal authorized would not be possible today (the US Congress needs to be involved), but it was not uncommon in the mid-1800s. The engravers and production facilities of the Mint were often engaged to design and strike medals for a variety of private and personal purposes. Many of these personal requests were made directly to the Director or through one of the Mint’s engravers."

    The medals were designed by Charles Barber, struck in the US Mint and were struck on standard half dollar planchets. This is a really neat example of a mint medal with a very interesting story.

    Mecklenburg medal.png
     
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  3. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    very nice & very interesting
     
    RussHJB likes this.
  4. LakeEffect

    LakeEffect Average Circulated Supporter

    Thanks for posting. I had never heard of the (maybe mythical?) Mecklenburg Declaration or the (definitely real) Barber medal.
     
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  5. RussHJB

    RussHJB Active Member

    Neither had I, it was quite a shock as someone that considers themselves fairly well versed in early American history!
     
    Cheech9712 likes this.
  6. KBBPLL

    KBBPLL Well-Known Member

    I'd never heard of it either, but wikipedia of course has a detailed entry. I'm a bit skeptical considering many of the phrases are similar or identical to phrases in the Declaration of Independence, and no one had heard of it prior to 1819, including Jefferson. I tend to think it was derived from the Mecklenburg Resolves, as many historians have theorized (in other words, folklore). But it's a cool medal!
     
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  7. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    Great post with interesting information. Like others, I've never read or heard of this declaration. Thanks for the post and photo.
     
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  8. KBBPLL

    KBBPLL Well-Known Member

    By the way, this could be an interesting article for the Barber Coin Collectors' Society journal, particularly if you could dig up more details on Barber's involvement in the medal design. I'm sure many members there are also not aware of the purported first Declaration or this Barber medal.
     
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  9. LakeEffect

    LakeEffect Average Circulated Supporter

    I was thinking the same thing. I don't recall ever reading anything about this particular medal.
     
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  10. Millard

    Millard Coindog

    I've done family genealogy and have run across the story of the Mecklenberg Declaration several times. Our family arrived in America in 1749 thru Philadelphia and was in Mecklenberg County by 1753. Even found claims my ancestors were signers of the Declaration but have not found evidence of such. I read once that the language in it matches quite a bit of the language from Thomas Jefferson inferring he may have borrowed from it. I've never heard there was a coin but that is really interesting and something that would be nice to add to my family research. Thanks for the post!
     
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  11. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    I remember hearing about it (the Mecklenberg Declaration) back around the time of the Bicentennial. Don't remember reading about the medal, though I would bet that there were articles about it in the major numismatic publications back then.
     
  12. Cheech9712

    Cheech9712 Every thing is a guess

    That coin in your family would be cool
     
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