Indian Peace Medal issued by President James K Polk, United States of America, 1845. This medal is a copper strike presented to the Museum by the US Government pre-1924, possibly at an International Exhibition. Peace medals played a significant role in relations between the United States government and the Native American population.

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 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.

Obverse Description

A draped bust of the President facing right; around, JAMES K POLK PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES 1845

Reverse Description

The hands of a military officer and an Indian chief clasped; above, crossed war axe and pipe; legend, divided by images, PEACE / AND / FRIENDSHIP

Edge Description

The edge is plain

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