Annals 9: Indian Peace Medals and Other Medals at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Francis and Mary Crane Collection of Native American material culture at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science contains nearly 200 medals that they described as “relating to Indians.” Although this is a subset of the 12,600 objects in their collection, it is clear from the archives that Francis spent more time with these medals than with any other portion of the collection. Unfortunately, the Crane’s medal collection has, to date, not been systematically analyzed or published by a numismatic professional. This volume fills that lacuna. We have identified nine medal categories in the Crane Collection, with the most important being the genuine Indian peace medals awarded to Native American leaders by various colonial governments. In addition to presenting an analysis of the medals, we attempt to capture how it feels to be an advanced collector with knowledge, passion, and money, for Francis Crane was fortunate to be such a hobbyist. He focused on what he wanted, was linked to a specialized network of dealers and collectors who shared his passion, and had the financial resources to collect in a systematic way. With this introductory volume, including hundreds of high-quality photographs, we set the stage for additional analyses by Indigenous knowledge keepers, numismatists, and scholars interested in the interaction between colonial governments and Native American tribes in the 18th and 19th centuries.