PCGS authenticated and graded MS 64. Reddish-brown patina with splashes of lighter tan and orange on either side. Sharply struck, choice grade and appearance, with only a tiny planchet flaw on the lower obverse/upper reverse to help identify.
Believed to have been struck around 1780, though by whom and for what reason remains unclear. The obverse of the medal depicts the Continental Army’s withdrawal from Aquidneck Island in August 1778 surrounded by the British fleet commanded by Admiral Lord Richard Howe.
The reverse has been the subject of debate as to what it portrays. For many years it has been assumed that it is a satirical representation of Lord Howe’s flagship fleeing Narragansett Bay in 1779, an interpretation in part based on the earliest versions of this medal bearing the word VLUGTENDE (“fleeing”) underneath Howe’s ship. More recent opinions assert that instead of a pro-American medal, it is actually a British medal intended for the Dutch market, or even an entirely Dutch product created to help garner support to the British cause.
In either case, this rare mint state specimen is a great piece for collectors of Revolutionary War history.
Year – (1778-1779)
Variety – Betts-563