Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York



Lifesaving Benevolent Association of New York Award Medals


The years 1838 to 1849 saw 338 shipwrecks along the coast of New Jersey and Long Island;
in response to this a group of merchants, ship-owners and other private citizens formed
the Lifesaving Benevolent Association of New York. The purpose of the organization as
stated in the original charter is to “recognize and reward courage, skill and seamanship in the rescue of human life on the sea or any navigable waters … to encourage training in seamanship, lifeboat work, methods of rescue in the water, and the resuscitation of victims of submersion.”.
Working with the newly established U.S. Lifesaving Service they helped construct and
operate life-saving stations along the New York Coastline.

In 1915 the Federal government took control of the stations and they eventually became
the responsibility of the U.S. Coast Guard. The LSBA continued to reward individuals
with monetary compensation, pins and medals to recognize heroism at sea. In 2009
the Seamen's Church Institute took on the administrative duties of the LSBA.


Unawarded, bronze, 51.1mm
Second obverse and reverse dies

1858 Award Medal Presented to John Johnston
Gold, 51mm
First obverse and reverse dies


1886 Award Medal Presented to Andre Lorsson
Silver, 51.1mm
First obverse, second reverse dies
There is a peculiarity to this obverse that I have seen in
no others. In all other first obverse dies I have seen
the line extending from the top of the forward mast is just
a straight line; this one has a thicker, curled line. But
under magnification you can see what appears to be the
straight line found on other first obverse examples.

1878 Award Medal Presented to Robert Walsh
Silvered bronze?,  51.1mm, with original pinback
First obverse, second reverse dies
This piece was described as 'silvered bronze' when purchased. The
unawarded example above is 4mm thick, this one is 3mm - the same as the silver.
The weight is 48 grams compared to 41 for the silver. And when "rung"
it has a dull sound very unlike the characteristic silver ring.


At first glance it would appear that there is just two dies - one obverse and one reverse.
On closer examination it seems there are two reverse dies and two
obverse dies. The reverse dies differ in the design of the wreath. The obverse dies
differ in the composition of the waves, the design details on the ship, and other small details as well as having the lettering "sculp" to the right on the exergue line.

First Obverse Die details

 First Reverse Die detail



Second Obverse Die details


Second Reverse Die detail



1863 Silver Award to Walter Lemon
 (image courtesy of Stacks Bowers)


This is the earliest silver example I have been able to locate and is 
a combination of what I have called the first obverse and reverse dies.
The 1886 award medal combines the first obverse with the second
reverse die. The 1895 example below is a combination of the 
second obverse and reverse dies.


1895 Silver Award to Reginald Spear
(image courtesy of The Newman Numismatic Portal - Alan Weinberg Collection)


The 1858 gold example is a combination of the first obverse and reverse dies.
The 1902 gold example below utilizes the second obverse and reverse dies. I 
have seen no other combinations.
(on line image)