1786 Benjamin Franklin Born Boston Medal. Betts-620. Silver, 45.8 mm. Original dies. MS-62 (PCGS).872.9 grains. Plain edge. Adopted into the Comitia Americana series by virtue of Thomas Jeffersons placement of a medal identical to this one in George Washingtons custom-assembled set of the Comitia Americana medals in silver. This medals historical importance really comes from the moment of its creation. Franklin had left Paris just months earlier, the most beloved American in that country until Jerry Lewis arrived. Franklins reputation throughout Europe was unsurpassed: as a diplomat, as a scientist, and as a man whose wisdom and simplicity belied the heart of a bon vivant. This medal was his friend Augustin Dupres final thanks for his friendship and some of the most meaningful commissions of his medallic career. The reverse exergual signature is not a simple credit line, but a valediction: SCULPSIT ET DICAVIT / AUG. DUPRE ANNO / MDCCLXXXVI or "Sculpted and dedicated by Augustin Dupre in the year 1786." Happy Birthday, Ben.<p>The surfaces of this medal are deeply toned, rich olive gray on the obverse with golden shades at the peripheries alight with luster. The obverse is glossy, while the reverse is highly reflective, with more luster, more gold, and a more lively appearance. Both sides show many scattered light marks, but none is individually significant. As noted in the Ford catalogue, though now invisible, a swivel mount hole has been drilled into the edge at 12:00. The raised fin on the rims has been gently filed, as issued. The obverse die state is early, and the designs are fully realized on both sides. The visual appeal is excellent.<p><p>As we noted when selling the silver John W. Adams specimen of this Betts number:<p><p>"The Adams and Bentley census located 14 specimens of this medal in silver, including examples at the Massachusetts Historical Society (Washingtons own), Yale University, Viennas Kunsthistoriches Museum, the Royal Coin Cabinet of Sweden, and two in the Stadtisches Museum in Braunschweig. This reflects the great affection in which Franklin was held throughout Europe. Once the Winged Genius reverse broke and was replaced with the reverse seen here, this became the current medal available from Dupre and the Paris Mint at the time of Franklins death in 1790. This was the medal available to Jefferson when he assembled Washingtons set of Comitia Americana medals before leaving Paris in 1789. In restrike form, first from these original dies and later from copy dies, the Paris Mint kept this medal in stock throughout the 19th century."<p><p><p>At that time we estimated a population of perhaps as many as 20, of which about half are in private hands. We have not sold one in the four years since the November 2019 Adams sale.<p>.PCGS# 926006.<strong>To view supplemental information and all items from the Sydney F. Martin Collection, click<a href="https://stacksbowers.com/sydney-f-martin-collection/"target=’_blank’> here.</a></strong>.From the Sydney F. Martin Collection. Earlier ex Godfrey S. Wieners, October 1960; our (Stacks) sale of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part XIV, May 2006, lot 354; Lawrence R. Stack Collection, November 2006.