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Mayflower 400th Anniversary Silver Medal

By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez - November 23, 2022

The 2020 Mayflower Voyage Medal, seen here in reverse proof format, honors the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ journey across the Atlantic in the large wooden sailing ship known as the Mayflower. Courtesy of the United States Mint. Click image to enlarge.

The Thanksgiving holiday in the United States honors what many believe was a harvest feast shared in 1621 between the English settlers known as Pilgrims, who landed in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the local Wampanoag people who welcomed the new arrivals from England and taught them various sustenance techniques. Many of the details that relate back to that original feast are lost to time. However, there is plenty of recorded history linking the pilgrims back to the Mayflower, a large wooden sailing ship that took around 135 people escaping religious persecution in England, across the Atlantic Ocean to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1620. The event is usually marked in grand fashion, especially during major anniversaries, such as the tercentennial in 1920, when the United States Mint struck its first Pilgrim Half Dollar.

The 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower landing in America in 1620 prompted the United States Mint to strike commemorative pieces honoring the grand ship and the people whose lives the voyage touched. Among these is the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower Voyage Silver Medal, which was struck in 2020. This silver medal, which is unmonetized and thus has no stated face value or legal-tender status, was produced as a hefty piece made with one troy ounce of .999-fine silver. It was struck in reverse-proof format at the Philadelphia Mint to the tune of 20,000 pieces, making it a truly limited-edition offering that sold out within a short period of time, even with its rather weighty $76 issue price.

The obverse of the silver 2020 Mayflower Voyage Medal depicts a pilgrim family bracing themselves against a cold wind as the Mayflower is anchored near the rocky shoreline in the background. The design, which features a dual dating feature declaring “1620-2020” to honor the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing, is mostly ensconced within a cameo element surrounded by the inscriptions “A CIVIL BODY POLITICK” and “MAYFLOWER COMPACT” with a pair of mayflower blossoms flanking the design. On the reverse is a Wampanoag man and woman using a planting technique that grew several key crops that ensured soil health and provided bountiful harvests. On the top of the reverse is the inscription “SUSTAINERS OF LIFE,” referring to the Wampanoags and their sustainable planting methods that also provided nutritional sustenance; the base of the reverse states “PEOPLE OF THE DAWN.”

The medal was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Chris Costello and sold individually as a reverse proof and as a proof in conjunction with a two-piece proof set that included a British £2 coin. That British coin, also designed by Costello, honors the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and was struck by the Royal Mint. The sets were limited in number to 14,200, with 9,200 sold by the United States Mint for $150, and the Royal Mint also offering a total of 5,000 of the set at its issue price of £185, or about $213 USD, each.

Article provided by PCGS at
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