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Gold Medals

Coinage through the ages has served the function both of currency (a store and measurement of value) and of medallic proclamation (dissemination of official information).

Is a Ptolemaic octodrachm or a multiple aurei of Constantine a coin or a medallion? The distinction would have been irrelevant to any society for whom money or currency was defined by the weight and purity of precious metal.

However, in our present era of unchecked government issue of paper and electronic money, there is a vast confusion as to the nature of currency. Currency is now a measurement of value and a "promise" of value - rather than a store of value. Thus Currency is now a form of debt.

This has led to the confused distinction that modern collectors hold between medallic issues and currency. Until our current era, medals have always been worth exactly their weight in precious metal - just like coins.

Many Royal Proclamation medals were crafted by some of the greatest artists of their era. They often are sculpted in high relief, in tiny mintages, to mark interesting and important historical events.

And they currently trade at a tiny fraction of similarly weighted common issue coins.

.............................................................................ROYAL GOLD PAGE 1


After the death of chief engraver Thomas Wyon in 1817, Wellesly Pole offered famed Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci the post of Chief-engraver at the Royal Mint. However he never officially occupied the post due to controversy on the grounds of his foreign origin -and on account of his wildly tempermental character. A compromise was eventually agreed, in 1828, whereby William Wyon was made Chief-engraver and Pistrucci, "Chief-medallist." The two engravers competed fiercely for the most presigious medallic assignments.

William Wyon was son of Peter Wyon, the chief engraver of seals at the royal mint under George III and brother of Thomas Wyon. William held the post of chief engraver of the royal mint from 1824 until the time of his death in 1851. In 1851, William was succeded by his 24 year old son Leonard Charles Wyon, who was literally born at the mint. Joseph Shepard Wyon and Alfred Benjamin Wyon, sons of engraver of seals Benjamin Wyon (also brother of Thomas), continued the family engraving business through 1884.

Great Britain, George IV, (1820-1830)

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY GOLD AWARD instituted in 1824. awarded in 1913. 47,68 mm; (60,69 g). -engraved by W Wyon, head of Sir Isaac Newton left, Inscribed below: "NUBEM PELLENTE MATHESI" refers to Edmond Halley's Ode to Newtown, the full phrase being "Obvia conspicimus nubem pellente mathesi (things we see clearly exposed, mathematical reason having expelled)." rev Herschel telescope mounted on wooden frame, QUICUID NITET NOTANDUM engraved below: H Deslanders 1913. Eimer 1137 - very rare, less than 100 awarded in fine gold (22 karat)

The society's highest award: past winners include Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble and Stephen Hawking. Henri Deslanders won this award for his work in Astrophysics and his invention of the spectroheliograph which photographs the sun in monochromatic light. His discovery of numerical patterns in spectral lines catalyzed the development of quantum mechanics in the 20th century

NGC Graded MS 61. ...............$8500

For many more rare gold Queen Victoria medals please see the Modern/British India section.

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.

Official Gold Coronation Medal (31.17 g), London, 1838, by B. Pistrucci. Victoria. Rev. Victoria seated left, with lion behind her to right, receiving crown from Britannia, Scotia and Hibernia. Brown 1801. Eimer 1315.

From a mintage of 1369 (but quite rare in mint state condition) of which 400 went to Peers, 540 to M.P.s, 50 to ambassadors etc and 295 the Privy Purse.

NGC graded MS 62.... And easily one of the nicest I've seen.


Great Britain, William IV 1831-1837

Official Gold Coronation Medal (27.1 gm) Engraved by William Wyon/ Obverse WILLIAM THE FOURTH CROWNED SEP:8 1831 Reverse ADELAIDE QUEEN CONSORT CROWNED SEP:8 1831 Eimer 1251

From a mintage of 1000.

NGC Proof 61 Cameo.........$5750

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.

1870 Large Gold Reward Medal for Valor by W. Wyon, (58.8 gms) Obv Young Head bust VICTORIA D.G. BRITT REG F. D. Rev: around: PRESENTED BY HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN. within: recipient and ship named Percy Marner, HMS Worcester, and dated 1870.

Several types of special reward medals were minted under Victoria. There are the "Cudi jussit" or "minted by decree" medals for special service, and then there were those presented for valor, some of which bear the inscription: "from the British government." This is the only recorded example inscribed as "presented by her majesty the Queen."

UNIQUE, with some contact marks in reverse field around the inscription, otherwise
Brilliant Proof........................POR

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901

Royal Geographical Society, Victoria Medal, in fine gold, 55mm, (124.65g) by W. Wyon. awarded to Colonel Sidney Gerald Burrard, K.C.S.I., Royal Engineers, Surveyor of India, for his work on the Topography of the Himalayas (including Everest.)

Victoria right, rev. Britannia standing left, sextant and globe at her feet, All in a glass lunnette (131 grams inclusive) Edge named to Colonel S. C. Burrard C.S.I., R.E., F.R.S. 1913. (Eimer 1229)

Lord Curzon said on presenting this medal "There is not a scientific explorer of our time who has not consulted and in some measure been guided by Colonel Burard and there has not been a surveyor general (Of British India) of equal scientific attainments."

Very Rare, only 38 medals awarded in fine gold, and now the medal is awarded in gilt silver. A slightly later sepcimen that had been removed from its lunette, leaving faint edge marks, sold at Spink this summer for 20,400 British pounds - or $26,500,

Mint State in a glass lunette, as made, in the original Wyon case...........POR

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901

Royal Society of Arts Gold Albert Medal 56,55 mm; (111.18 grams) engraved by LC Wyon. For "distinguished merit in promoting Arts, Manufacture and Commerce" Awarded in 1924 to Edward Prince of Wales, (later King Edward VIII). Obv: Albert Prince consort left, and Rev: personifications of Art, manufacture and Industry.


Past recipients include: Queen Victoria, Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchil:. A very prestigious award.

Extremely Rare, less than 50 awarded in fine gold.

From the private collection of Edward Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII and then Duke of Windsor. Auctioned off from his estate by Christie's June 2004.

In plush velvet contemporary case. Beautiful Nearly Uncirculated.....POR

Great Britain, Victoria (1837-1901),

Golden Jubilee 1887, Official Gold Medal, (84.53g,) 58mm, by Sir J E Boehm and [reverse] Frederick, Lord Leighton, engraved by L C Wyon, crowned and veiled bust left, rev the Queen enthroned surrounded by seven figures of the Arts and Industries of Britain, (BHM 3219; Eimer 1733; Wollaston 39). Choice, proof mint state. Only 944 specimens struck in gold,
in red leather case of issue (also mint state)

some light scratches on the reverse at 2 oclock, otherwise:

Brillian proof UNC..................sold

Great Britian, Edward VII (1901-1910)

Coronation of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, 1902, Gold medal, (51.02g,) 46 mm. by F. Bowcher for Spink and Son, conjoined, crowned and robed busts of Edward and Alexandra right, edward vii - alexandra, rev. god save the king, Britannia holding crown aloft before Westminster Abbey, children of colonies with garlands, around, in ex. crowned. june. 26th 1902,(Eimer 1869b; BHM 3741), attractive toning, very rare.

UNC, as struck.....................$6500

Great Britian, Edward VII (1901-1910)

Official small gold medallion for the Coronation, 1902, by de Saulles, crowned bust of king r., rev. crowned bust of Queen Alexandra r., date on ribbon below, 31mm.(17.6 gm) (BHM.3737; Eimer 1871b), lustrous.

NGC Graded MS 61................$1350

Great Britain, George V, 1910-1936

Silver Jubilee, 1935, small gold medal (23 gm) by P. Metcalf, busts right, rev. Windsor Castle, 32mm. (BHM.4249; E.2029), in case of issue. Rare, from a mintage of 247 pieces

NGC graded MS 61...............$2200

Great Britain, George VI (1936-1952)

Coronation, official small Gold Medal, (23.34g,) 1937, by P. Metcalfe, the official Royal Mint issue, 32mm, (BHM 4314). Rare, from a mintage of 422 small medals.

NGC graded MS 62................sold

Great Britain, Scotland, George V
City of Glasgow, Coronation medal 1911, 45mm x 30mm (19.9g.) 15ct Gold and Enamel shaped oval Medal, conjoined busts left, thistles below, rev City Arms detailed in enamel, "let Glasgow flourish",suspension loop and ring, maker M&A. Inscribed to: Coun J. Muir, ( Lord Provost of Glasgow) Very Rare.
Superb, as made..............on hold

Republic of Brazil 1906

Gold Commemorative Medal of the Appointment as Cardinal of Joaquim de Albuquerque Cavalcanti, Gold, 70mm, (232.98g).

Tthe Holy Virgin blessing the appointment of the new Cardinal, cherubs surrounding the Papal Arms, a seated female scribe recording the event, BRASIL below. Reverse: allegorical figures uniting the coat of Arms of Brazil, the Vatican and the Pope, ROMA-11-12-1905 RIO DE JANEIRO-1-4-1906 O CLERO E O POVO DO BRASIL AO S. S. PADRE PIO X.

This massive and exquisitely engraved gold piece (nearly 8 ounces of .900 gold) represents engraver Augusto Girardet's greatest achievement. It was struck to commemorate the appointment of Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro Joaquim Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti by Pope Pius X as the first Cardinal appointed in South America.

Of the highest Rarity, with only three specimens minted in gold and offered to three great dignitaries, the Pope (Pius X), the President of Brazil and the first South American catholic Cardinal, Don Joaquim Arcoverde. This is President's Rodrigues Alves' personal specimen (as noted on the NGC holder) with the other two in Museums.  V Calavacanti -270.

(povenance noted on the holder)
NGC Graded MS65...............sold

CHILE - ARGENTINA GOLD PEACE MEDAL 1902-3 of 4 escudos (14.8 GRAMS) .900 GOLD Chile's coat of arms/Two representations of Peace with shields bearing Chilean Star and Argentinian cap of freedom "La Paz lo Vence Todo" Signed by the artist M. H.

Excessively Rare: from a mintage of 3 pieces struck in gold. Of the finest artistic quality in high relief.

About Unciculated...............$3200

Republic of Peru

Gold Proclamation medal of 4 escudos, for the Constitutionof 1856. (13.68g.)

The Constitution of the Republic of Peru in 1856 was the sixth constitution that prevailed in Peru, developed and adopted by a Constituent Assembly under the National Convetntion that met in Lima in 1855, after the triumph of the of the government of Jose Rufino Echenique. Enacted on October 19, 1856, by the Provisional President of the Republic, Marshal Ramon Castilla. After this he established a consesus constitution in 1860, which became the longest in Peruvian history.

Extremely rare in gold.


ITALY, Papale (prigioniero del Vaticano). Leo XIII. 1878-1903.

AV Holy Year Medal 1883 (43mm, 53.48 g,). By Bianchi. Dated RY 8 (AD 1883, in Roman numerals). LEO · XIII · PONT · MAX · ANNO · VIII, bust left, wearing zucchetto, mozzetta, and pallium / * HISTORIA · FVGIENTIVM · TESTIS · TEMPORVM · VERITATIS · LVCEM · ADFERT · ERVITAE · POSTERITATI · MENDACIO · PROFLIGATO · REIECTO, winged figure of Historia standing facing, holding scroll; behind, Lux holding ball of flame; before, Veritas blowing trumpet; to lower right, Cherub resting arm on tablet inscribed HISTORIA/ LVX/ VERITAS; all in clouds. Rinaldi 79; Mazio supp. 799 (all references for silver).

Very rare less than 15 minted. A medallic masterpiece (Absurdly undergraded.)

NGC Graded MS 61..........$8500

ITALY, Papale (prigioniero del Vaticano). Leo XIII. 1878-1903.

AV Holy Year Medal (43mm, 56.52 g, 12h). By Bianchi. Dually dated 1890 and RY 13 (in Roman numerals). LEO · XIII · PONT · MAX · ANNO · XIII, bust left, wearing zucchetto, mozzetta, and pallium / TE · VINDICE · DEVS · VINCVLA · CORRVANT · AD · LIBERTATEM/ APOSTOLICAE · POTESTATIS, St. Peter seated facing in chains on rock, with arms spread, holding key; in exergue, A · MDCCCXV ·. Rinaldi 84; Mazio supp. 818 (all references for silver).

Very Rare less than 20 minted

NGC graded MS 62.............$7500

Italy Papal States. Leo XIII, Pope (1878-1903)

Gold Holy Year Medal 1900 Rome mint, by F. Bianchi, (43mm, 52.85gm) Obv. Bust of Pope Leo XIII facing left with cap, cape, and stole. Rev. Cardinals, and pilgrims, surrounds the Pope as he opens the Holy Door. Bartolotti-900, Rinaldi-94 (silver medal), Berni-329,

Extremely rare from a mintage of less than 20 gold specimens.

NGC greaded MS 62.......$7500

Italy. Papal States Pio XI. Pope 1922-1939.

AV Holy Year Medal 1927/AN VI. (44.00 mm. 51.27 g.) New Seminary Romano - (misidentified on the holder for a change.) a building which soon after was converted into the main Vatican administrative offices.. engraved by A. Mistruzzi. Bust aleft con zucchetto, mozzetta e stola. Rv. Seminary building. Modesti 395.

Very rare less than 30 minted.

NGC graded MS 64...........$6500

Sovereign and Pope, (1963-1978)

Gold Holy Year Medal 1963 marking Paul as the Pope presiding over the second session of the Second Vatican Council, after the death of John XXIII, who had convened the council in 1962. Obv signed by the artist Lallo Scorelli, Rev signed by E. Senesi

45mm (52.68gm) edge marked .750 (18 karat) fine gold. Rare.

PCGS Graded SP63............$3200



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