Haym Salomon medal designed by Paul Vincze, struck by Medallic Art Company in quantities of 950 bronze, 440 pure silver and about 8 gold-plated pure silver. Obverse: Portrait, PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND (LEV. 25:10) • HAYM SALOMON 1740-1785, P.VINCZE. Reverse: Salomon writing, with American cavalry in background, 1776 in exergue,
P. VINCZE. 58 mm.
In the early 1770’s, Haym Salomon left his family in Poland and arrived in New York on the eve of the Revolution. His command of German made him welcome to the Hessian forces, which he served as a supplier of goods. When the British suspected him of spying, Salomon was arrested and confined to prison for a time.
Salomon’s command of several languages enabled him to serve as a broker to the French officials in Philadelphia. Salomon prospered and was able to be financially helpful to a number of public figures, such as Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. In 1782, Madison acknowledged the “kindness of our little friend in Front Street, whose assistance will preserve me from extremities but I never resort to it without great mortification as he obstinately rejects all recompense.”
When Haym Salomon died prematurely in January 1785, he held $353,000 — largely in depreciated certificates of indebtedness and continental currency — all virtually worthless.
The Pennsylvania Packet wrote “He was remarkable for his skill and integrity in his profession and for his generous and humane deportment.”
Haym Salomon was actively involved in Jewish community affairs. He was a member of Mikveh Israel Congregation in Philadelphia, and made the largest single contribution to the erection of its first building in 1782. The following year, Salomon joined with other prominent Jews in an address to the Pennsylvania Council of Censors, urging them to remove the religious test oath required for office holding under the State Constitution. And in 1784, he responded to a personal slander in the press by proclaiming: “I am a Jew; it is my own nation … I do not despair … that we shall obtain every other privilege that we aspire to enjoy along with our fellow-citizens.”
Extracted from a paper by Dr. Samuel Rezneck, Professor Emeritus of History, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.