The medal's obverse bears bust of Commodore Dewey, facing right. Across, THE · GIFT / OF - THE / PEOPLE - OF · THE / UNITED - STATES / TO · THE - OFFICERS / AND · MEN - OF · THE / ASIATIC - SQUADRON / UNDER · THE - COMMAND / OF · COM-MODORE / GEORGE - DEWEY / (wreath and anchor) / (star); signed under truncation D C FRENCH / 1898
The medal's reverse bears young sailor seated on cannon barrel with American flag held furled in his lap. Around, · IN · MEMORY · OF · THE · VICTORY · OF · MANILA · BAY · / MAY 1 - 1898
This beautiful medal commemorates the Battle of Manila Bay. In this battle of the Spanish-American War, Commodore George Dewey's Asiatic Squadron destroyed the Spanish Navy's entire Pacific Fleet while only suffering one casualty to a heart-attack. Dewey was the only American officer to ever attain the rank of Admiral of the Navy, a rank that would today be the equivalent of a six-star admiral, a rank which does not exist.
The medal measures 46mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by Tiffany & Co., New York. Commonly seen with a loop and ribbon, it was awarded by the Navy to all sailors who participated in the Battle of Manila Bay, including Dewey himself (he wore it proudly with the reverse side facing). Those military award medals are all embossed with the recipient's name. This medal must either have been a special presentation piece or a design sample but I can't be certain about it. Any expert opinion would be welcome.
Many thanks to Bob Slawsky for granting me permission to use his images.
References: Marqusee 178