U.S. Mint to Release James A. Garfield Presidential Silver Medal

President James A. Garfield

As part of its ongoing commemorative series of Presidential Silver Medals, the U.S. Mint will release for sale the James A. Garfield commemorative medal on April 30th, 2024. Garfield was the 20th President of the United States. He was inaugurated on March 4th, 1881. Garfield’s presidency was short lived; on July 2nd 1881, he was shot at a Washington DC train station by a deranged office seeker named Charles Guiteau. Garfield lingered until September 19th before succumbing. He was the second U.S. president to die by assassination. One of the witnesses was Secretary of War Robert Lincoln, son of the first president to be assassinated, Abraham Lincoln.

Garfield was born in Ohio, and was a state senator at the beginning of the Civil War. He accepted a commission as Lieutenant Colonel of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer

Brigadier General James A. Garfield

Infantry; he was soon promoted to full Colonel. He commanded a brigade at the Battle of Middle Creek in Kentucky in January 1862, winning the battle and receiving a promotion to Brigadier General. He commanded a brigade on the second day of the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862 and in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi, later that year before returning home due to ill health. He returned in the spring of 1863, and was named Chief of Staff for Major General William S. Rosecrans. At the Battle of Chickamauga in September, Garfield performed his duties well and was rewarded with promotion to Major General, even though the battle was a Union defeat. Garfield had been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican in the Fall of 1862, but did not have to take his seat in the House for a year after that. He did so following Chickamauga, ending his military service.

Garfield served nine terms in the house. In January 1880, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, with the term beginning March 4th, 1881. (At that time, U.S. Senators were selected by state legislatures, not popular vote. That did not occur until the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1913). At the 1880 Republican Convention, three factions of the party vied for their candidate to get the nomination for President. No candidate emerged that could unite the party, and as ballot after ballot failed, Garfield emerged as a dark horse candidate and won the nomination on the 36th ballot. Garfield defeated another former Civil War general, Democrat Winfield Scott Hancock, in the 1880 election.

As with the other medals in this series, this one is a collectors Item and not a circulating currency. The medal is one troy ounce of 99.9% silver. The front of the medal has a profile picture of Garfield, while the back lists his inauguration date, the date of his assassination, and the date of his death. The medal costs $75 and is available for purchase on April 30th, 2024.

Front of Garfield Presidential Medal, U.S. Mint Image


Back of Garfield Presidential Medal, U.S. Mint Image

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