Peace Medal, American Indian, issued by President James Garfield, United States of America, 1881. Peace medals played a significant role in relations between the United States government and to populations Indigenous to North America (the terms Native American and American Indian are also used by government and cultural institutions in the USA).

Following the British and French practice of handing out silver medals to tribal chiefs, George Washington began a policy of presenting peace medals to American Indian leaders at treaty signings and other formal ceremonies. Every subsequent American president from Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Harrison is represented on an American Indian peace medal, with the exception of William Henry Harrison. The medals were often produced in different sizes according to the rank of the recipients.

This example is a bronze replica created by the Philadelphia federal mint using the original dies. The series began in 1842 with the Thomas Jefferson medal.

Obverse Description

Bare head of the President facing left; around, 'JAMES A. GARFIELD . PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES 1881'.

Reverse Description

Two figures standing facing each other, on the left a farmer with his hand on a spade indicates a house, with woman and child seated at front door, to an Indian chief who stands beside a tree, in the background a boy ploughs a field; above, PEACE; in exergue, crossed war axe and pipe with olive wreath

Edge Description

The edge is plain

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