1779 (pre-1842) Captain John Paul Jones / Bonhomme Richard vs. Serapis Naval Medal. Paris Mint Original. By Augustin Dupre. Adams-Bentley 8, Betts-568, Julian NA-1. Bronze. Plain Edge. Specimen-62 (PCGS).55 mm. Rich, gently marbled color in a blend of autumn-brown, deep copper and olive. The reverse is impressively smooth overall, the obverse acceptably so in hand, although the latter side shows several wispy handling marks in the expansive field area that account for the assigned numeric grade. Sharply struck and boldly defined in high relief, this is a visually impressive specimen.<p>This classic type is the first United States Naval medal, engraved by Augustin Dupre of Libertas Americana fame, and struck at the Paris Mint. The pattern of die rust on both sides confirms the original dies, and the plain edge indicates that this is an original striking, before 1842. The U.S. Mint did not begin striking this type until 1863, after soft-metal (a.k.a. "gunmetal") dies were made, using an original striking as a hub. Since most Paris Mint examples that we handle are restrikes from the 1845 to 1860 era with the familiar (pointing hand) CUIVRE edge markings, this rare plain edge original is sure to catch the eye of advanced collectors.<p>The detailed reverse of this type, designed with help from Joness descriptions of the battle between his <em>Bonhomme Richard</em> and the <em>HMS Serapis</em>, is among the finest medallic renderings of a naval scene from any era. The place of primacy this medal enjoys among the naval series, as well as its position as one of the most popular of the Comitia Americana series, makes it always desirable to a wide range of collectors.