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Historical society adds to its Franklin Pierce collection


CONCORD — Four medals and tokens documenting President Franklin Pierce’s 1852 campaign and time in the White House were acquired last month by the New Hampshire Historical Society.

NHHS administrators say the pieces were acquired with underwriting support from Q. David Bowers, a numismatist and chairman emeritus of Stack’s Bowers Galleries of New York and member of the society’s board of trustees.

“These pieces build the society’s collection of presidential campaign medals,” said Wesley Balla, director of collections and exhibitions. “Because of their history, uniqueness and relationship to a famous 19th-century national political figure from New Hampshire, they were a strong addition to the society’s collections.”

Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States, and the only President to hail from the Granite State. The New Hampshire Historical Society serves as a de facto presidential library for Pierce and has cultivated a reputation as a repository for many objects related to Pierce’s life and time in office.

The Pierce-related objects held by the society comprise a diverse collection of 107 portraits and items related to Franklin Pierce’s life and career. Many were donated by his family members. Prior to this acquisition, the society held only one token from Pierce’s 1852 presidential campaign and two Indian presentation medals minted during his term in office. During the mid-19th century, mass-produced tokens, coins and medals began to be made by political parties and supporters promoting presidential candidates. They reflect a long tradition that continues to the present day in American politics. The newly acquired campaign medals were purchased at auction from the John J. Ford Jr. Collection. Ford was a collector and artifact dealer born in 1924 in Hollywood, Calif.

pfeely@unionleader.com

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