Lifesaving Lincoln Peace Medal

Here is another a little research story, about a Lincoln Peace Medal, that is too good to pass up.
          In 1918 Mr. J. Sanford Saltus presented a number of coins and medals to the American Numismatic Society, including “a Lincoln Peace Medal showing the mark of a bullet. This medal saved the life of a Ute Indian wearing it.” (Proceedings of the American Numismatic Society for the Sixtieth Annual Meeting, 1918)
          When I came across mention of this medal in 2003, I contacted the American Numismatic Society by email. Robert Wilson Hoge, Curator of American Coins and Currency, replied. He said the particular Lincoln Peace Medal was at that time on exhibition at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He sent the following description of the piece:

Pierced. Crater from impact of bullet (bullet still intact). Original issue, solid silver (second striking, second rev.) Thickness: 4.3mm. Sold by a Ute Indian in Colorado who, in 1873 was in a skirmish with another tribe when a bullet struck the medal which saved his life. He subsequently sold the medal, calling it “heap bad medicine,” because he felt it should have kept the bullet away from him altogether.

Published in: on September 7, 2009 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have detailed history on this medal. It was purchased in 1872 by John P. Lower, Denver gunsmith, from a Ute chief named Honkapkna, or Honko for short. He came into the gunshop, slapped the medal on the counter and said “Heap bad medicine. Bullet, him knock me dead, sqaws pour heap and heaps of water on me, no dead after two hours, no want, bad medicine, trade!”

    Lower bought the medal and it was his most treasured possesion until his death in 1917. Saltus bought if from Lower’s son, Clarence. Lower also had another Lincoln, a Grant and a Johnson medal that Saltus may have purchased. See more on this at my web page above.

  2. If any Utes have any form of history concerning J.P. Lower, please contact me. I am activly researching him for a book, also collect artifacts from the store and firearms marked with his name.

    • Dave,
      Thanks for the added information about this particular Lincoln Peace Medal. Your contact information does not show in the comment so here it is for anyone who has material to share about Denver gunsmith, J.P. Lower:
      Dave Lanara

      Best wishes on your book.

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