Happy Birthday, President Lincoln!

February 12 is the real Lincoln birthday. It has since been folded into “Presidents’ Day.” Given the left’s plans to cancel our history and culture completely, this might be one of the last times we will be able to observe Lincoln’s birthday without getting on a black list.

This piece was from Lincoln’s 1860 presidential campaign. The die maker got the name wrong, “Abram Lincoln,” because he used the used on an incorrect biography. The all seeing eye on the reverse stands for the Hartford, Connecticut Wide Awakes Marching Club. The “Abram Lincoln” side was used with three other reverses and is fairly common. This combination with the “Wide Awakes” club is rare.

This piece was from Lincoln’s 1864 campaign. The slogan “Honest Old Abe” appears on it. This piece is somewhat scarce.

The front of this ferrotype is my avatar. A ferrotype is a photograph that is printed on a thin piece of iron… This is a scarce and popular political piece. Decent examples bring $3,000 and up at major auctions.

I have many more Lincoln items that were issued during his two campaigns.

This last one was made by Victor David Brenner who designed the Lincoln Cent. It was this piece that inspired Theodore Roosevelt to push for the Lincoln Cent in Congress. Brenner showed to Roosevelt while he was posing for a Panama Canal medal that would be awarded to those who built it. The Lincoln Cent was introduced in August 1909.

The reverse is especially symbolic. It shows a lone eagle on a cliff above a raging sea. The light of hope is stemming from above.

Here is the first type of Lincoln Cent, the 1909-VDB which had Victor David Brenner’s initials on the reverse.

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Here are two more Lincoln medalets.

The first is of "Lincoln the rail splitter. Lincoln needed an image that would appeal to the common man. By the 1850s, Lincoln had become an extremely successful lawyer who was earning over $5,000 a year, which was huge money those days. “Lincoln the railroad lawyer” would not have been an effective image. “Lincoln the rail splitter” was. This was a very early Lincoln medalet that was made by the Childs company of Chicago. There are several medals that repeat this theme. Some people think that the guy holding the wedge for Lincoln is Stephen Douglas, who was Lincoln’s prime political rival in Illinois.

These second token cover an issue that confused me when I was taking American history in high school. Lincoln was known as “the great emancipator” and yet the message seemed to be confused in history books. Why?

Lincoln did not run as an abolitionist in 1860. He ran on the platform that slavery could continue to exist in the states where it was practiced, but could not spread to any more states or territories. Why did Lincoln take that position? Politics. Most of the country was no ready for emancipation. If Lincoln had run as an abolitionist, he might well have lost the election.

Lincoln, like every other politician was groping for a solution to the problem that had plagued the country since Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. What was to be done about slavery? As Jefferson characterized the issue in the early 1820s, “It is like a man who has a wolf by the ears. He is afraid to hold on and fearful of letting go.”

Two of Lincoln’s solutions are considered racist today. One was to compensate the slave owners. He proposed started in a small state like Delaware which had few slaves. Another was to re-colonize the slaves back to Africa. The country of Liberia was started by freed slaves who returned to Africa. Ultimately the war forced Lincoln’s hand and he issued the Emancipation Proclamation which took effect on January 1, 1863. Later he pushed for the constitutional amendment that ended slavery.

This piece was made by Boston, Massachusetts die maker, Joseph Merriam

This one was by Worcester, Massachusetts medalist, Charles Lang.