1858 Atlantic Cable Completion Medals
Before the laying of a trans-Atlantic telegraph cable it took over a week for news to travel between Europe and America. In 1854 New York City businessman Cyrus W. Field became interested in the idea of a cable connecting the Continents and a 50 year charter was obtained from the federal government as well as funding from both American and British sources.
The first efforts to lay the cable began in 1857 with problems encountered from the beginning. Finally the project was completed on August 5th, 1858; on August 16 Queen Victoria sent a 98 word message to President Buchanan that took 16 hours to transmit. Service was sketchy and interruptions common but the engineers were confident these could be problems could eventually be solved.
Commercial operations were to begin on September 1 to coincide with a large celebration to be held in honor of Cyrus Field. But the cable was still not functioning properly and the last clear transmission was received on the day of the celebration. After this only garbled and incomplete messages could be received or sent. Any hope of repair was abandoned and a functioning cable would not be completed until 1866
Cyrus W. Field Medal - 1st Reverse, no date
White metal, 51.2mm
Cyrus W. Field Medal - 2nd Reverse, with date
White metal, 51mm
This was the specimen presented to Field himself; it is not known
whether it still exist.
John Bull - Brother Jonathan Medalet
George H. Lovett produced these medalets for sale to numismatist and the general public; exact mintages are not known but it must have been in the hundreds. John Bull, on the left, represented England with Brother Jonathan, an early version of Uncle Sam, on the right representing America. Notice this perspective is different than most with England on the left as if the viewer is in the Arctic rather than on the Equator.
George H. muled both of these dies with several others including his own storecards.
Not listed in SCUST but a silver version was in the PCAC Auction 51
NY 493A, copper, 31mm
(on line image)
NY 494, brass, 31mm
NY 495, white metal, 31mm
John Bull - Brother Jonathan / Boy and Dog Mule
White metal, 31mm
| This muling is not listed by Rulau; I have not seen it in any other metals but copper and white metal.
Atlantic Telegraph / Boy and Dog Mule
NY 495B, silvered white metal, 31mm
(image courtesy of Steve Hayden)
| Rulau only list a version in silvered white metal. The one in the ANS Collection is called white metal and this one was described as white metal. I have not seen strikings in any other metals.
Atlantic Telegraph / United We Stand Mule
White metal, 31mm
(image courtesy of Stacks Bowers)