Tiny gilt brass medalets (sometimes spelled medalette) can be ones of the most beautiful numismatic specimens. The sharp details on such a minute specimen such as the Pennsylvania 2nd Regiment National Guard medalet (often referred to as a token) is just one example that was actually produced by the United States Mint.
Very little information can be found on the 2nd Regiment Pennsylvania National Guard and what their achievements were in 1879 to accustom such a fine mintage. It is assumed they saw service in both the American Civil War and Spanish American War.
Regiment photos from the Spanish American War have been accessed, but I have yet to find any information on the 2nd Regiment pertaining to the American Civil War. Hopefully a Pennsylvania Civil War buff will be able to assist.
Russell Rulau presumed the 2nd Regiment was organized in 1840 and described the 19mm bronze in his book as Pa-Ph 372, along with a small black and white image of the token. It really is small, about the size of a dime.
Each example I have seen have been holed in the exact same location at about 12 o’ clock. The belief is that these were holed as issued and meant to serve as decorative medals to be worn at the particular event in which they were received on November 10, 1879. There is no evidence of a ribbon associated with them and it is likely the medalets were pinned to the uniform.
300 of these cent-sized bronze were minted. It is doubtful that any more than 40 or 50 survived. The three that I have seen, including my example have a rich orange and yellow toning. I love this token for the intricate details in the national guard and State of Pennsylvania seal. It does not represent a significant part to any collection that I hold and fits in nowhere. Yet, it captures the beauty of 19th century die making that I long for on modern coins and tokens all the time. Further, the glow of 19th century brass that is allowed to tone on its’ own accord is breathtaking and worth owning at every opportunity, even though my photography skills are a long way from realizing it.