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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. The coronation medals of Geroge IV, William IV and Victoria rank amongst the most exquisite numismatic portraits.

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)

George IV gold Coronation Medal 1821, by Pistrucci, Eimer-1146 (signed B.P. on each side), 35 mm, plain edge, lovely example struck in extremely high relief, the cameo proof portrait untouched, with lovely gold color. The allegorical imagery depicts George IV seated and being crowned by the mythic Victory, while Britannia, Hibernia and Scotia bear witness; in the exergue, the date of coronation is given in Latin as July 19, 1821. The reverse legend, PROPRIO JAM JURE ANIMO PATERNO, "Now In His Own Right With His Father's Mind" serves to remind the king's subjects that he rules with divine right and continues the royal family line so long in place. The official coronation issue struck by the Royal Mint.

A stunning lusterous piece - looks better than the grade. From a mintage of 1060 but very rare in this quality, and a masterpiece of medallic portraiture.

NGC MS 62...................$11,500

Great Britain, George IV, (1820-1830)

Excedingly Rare unfinished pattern of the Official Royal Mint Gold Coronation medal, 1821 by B.Pistrucci

When compared with the finished official Coronation Medal, the obverse on this piece shows minute differences in the spacing of the bust in relation to the letters, however it is the reverse design, with the King’s chair resting on a level ground-line, that makes the medal unique.

Laurence Brown (British Historical Medals, vol I, London, 1980, no. 1069, note) writes, "It would seem that the original design for the reverse conceived by Pistrucci showed the King seated upon a chair with no dais underneath. Michael Marsh (Benedetto Pistrucci, Principle Engraver & Chief Medallist of the Royal Mint, Cambridge 1996), records the rejection as the decision of the King, who felt he should be placed above the figures of the three Kingdoms, and writes of Pistrucci saying, "I shall elevate His Majesty", before preceding to recut the puncheon. 35mm, 33.00 grams. (heavier than the recut medal)

The only other recorded example of this rare pattern exists in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fifth Avenue, New York, bought out of a Baldwin's auction of 2005.

One of two known. Surface marks from being handled by Pistrucci, the King and his retinue, but still an attractive near mint state specimen.

PCGS Graded SP 58.......$25,000

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. ...............$8000

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 965.

NGC Proof 62 Cameo.......sold

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.

Official Gold Coronation Medal (31.17 ), 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.

Lovely high grade example, with full mint lustre. Another masterpiece by Pistrucci.

PCGS graded SP 62...............$14,000

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.

Official Silver Coronation Medal (31.17 ), 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.

Spectacular multihued example, only 1172 minted - so actually rarer than the gold example, and especially hard to find high grade, as the silver medals were tossed to officials (judges, politicians, officers etc) who lined the front rows of the coronation procession. The Morning Post reported that: "ribboned military officers and aldermen of the city of London were seen sprawled together and wrestling like schoolboys" at the general distribution of the coronation medals.

PCGS SP 63.....................sold

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.

Winchester College, the Queen's medal for Latin and English essays, gold Prize Medals, 49mm., (57.08 gm)  awarded 1845 to Edward D. Holroyd, by Benjamin Wyon, bust of Queen Victoria to left, her hair tied back with roses, rev. tomb of William of Wykeham at Winchester, inscribed on the edge to EDWARDUS D. HOLROYD. COMMENSALIS. MDCCCXLV

Attractive and rare Young Head bust, by master engraver William Wyon.

PCGS Graded SP 62 +....sold

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."

This is not the usual sea gallantry medal which is featured below, and as such probably designed and awarded uniquely for this occassion.

Of the highest rarity. Probably UNIQUE and in beautiful prooflike condition.

PCGS graded SP62........ sold

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.

Golden Jubilee, 1887, official medal in gold, 58mm. (83.94gms) by L. C. Wyon after Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm and (reverse) Frederick, Lord Leighton, crowned 'Jubilee' bust l., rev. enthroned figure of Empire facing, flanked by standing figures of Science, Letters, Art, Industry and Agriculture, at their feet, Mercury and Time,, (BHM.3219; Eimer 1733),

One of the most beautiful Victorian medallic designs. With red leather case of issue.

944 specimens minted but only 5 have graded to this gem level (and looks better) - very rare thus

PCGS Graded SP 63.............POR

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.

Golden Jubilee 1887, official gold medal, by C. Emptmeyer after J. E. Boehm, 31.67g, 30mm.'
Jubilee' bust left, signature below, rev. inscription in wreath, (Mussell 293), 

very rare, only 133 minted in gold, and only 73 awarded, the rest melted.

Gold examples were presented to members of the Royal Household and their personal guests.

They were minted with the loop so that they could be worn at the ceremony - as most were, so finding one in this high grade is very rare.

Additionaly, this medal in silver was given to government ministers, senior officials, distinguished foreign visitors, navel and military officers involved in the Jubilee parade on 20 June 1887

NGC graded MS 62.............$6500

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.

Silver Specimen Golden Jubilee Medal ND (1887), The Official Royal Mint Golden Jubilee issue 77mm. 217.5 grams By Boehnm & Leighton. Crowned and veiled bust of Victoria to the left, her name and titles around; Reverse: "IN COMMEMORATION" and two cherubs holding intertwined wreaths above personification of Empire enthroned. Three figures to her right, two to her left, and two reclining at her feet. In exergue, 5 small shields inscribed "ASIA, AMERICA, EUROPE, AUSTRALASIA and AFRICA".

With flashy proof-like surfaces and frosted cameo devices. Lovely old cabinet tone displaying medium grey and heater purple throughout with attractive iridescent hues that pop out when tilted in the light. 

PCGS graded SP63 ...............sold

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.

Victoria gold Diamond Jubilee Medal 1897, Old or Veiled Head / Young Head. A gorgeous medal both sides, with superb eye-appeal, housed in a huge slab. 56 mm, 94.1 g, Prepared at the Royal Mint by G.W. DeSaulles using models by T. Brock and W. Wyon. Eimer1817a,

3750 were ordered from the mint, but it is unclear how many were actually produced and how many were melted. Collectible examples have become very scarce, as the price of pylsical bullion has climbed back over $1800 the populartiy of these large gold medals has soared.

An attractive medal in near mint grade, just $250 an ounce over the current price of bullion.

NGC Graded PCGS SP 58......$6500

BGreat Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.


Delhi College, gold medal, 1875, Calcutta mint. (58.75gms.) diad. bust of Queen Victoria by William Wyon (Pennyblack bust) l., rev. LORD NORTHBROOK MEDAL, FOUNDED 1875, DELHI COLLEGE, wreath, (Puddester: 875.2.3 - RRRRR)

Of the Highest Rarity, Probably UNIQUE

According to Puddester: "Other than the registers in the Calcutta mint recording the striking of this medal, the author has not been able to trace a specimen. As Delhi College was closed in 1877 there were probably only one or two of these medals awarded." ex spink

PCGS graded SP 61.........$10,000

Great Britain, Victoria, 1837-1901.

1883 First Calcutta International Exhibition

Gold Award Medal 51 mm., 5 mohur (58.17 grams.) Unsigned - By Wyon Calcutta mint.

Obv. Bust of Queen Victoria in the Gothic style of Empress of India; around on a broad rim defined by a rope, CALCUTTA INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION. 1883-84/ Reverse: Within open wreath, AWARDED TO

The prize medals from this historic exhibition were awarded by Queen Victoria herself and were issued in most cases without the name of the winner engraved.(Pudd 883.2.2)

extremely rare in gold:
According to the Royal commission for Victoria, at the Calcutta international Exhibition, 1883-1884 page 5 and 6:
Only 38 gold medals were issued.

NGC MS 63......................sold

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, some smoothing on the rim.....$12,000

Great Britain, Edward VIII. As Prince of Wales, 1911-1936.

Official Gold Investiture Medal. (29.63mm, 29.63 g). Royal Mint. By W. Goscombe John. Dated 13 July 1911 (in Roman numerals). INVESTITVRE · OF · EDWARD · PRINCE · OF · WALES · K · G, crowned and robed bust facing slightly left, wearing Chain of the Garter; CARN – – ARVON/IVLУ · XIII MCMXI in two lines across field / · ARWISGIAD · IORWERTH · TУWУSOG · CУMRU · M · G ·, view of Caernarfon Castle, seen from Afon Seiont, at dawn with rays in background; above, crowned plumes within Garter; in exergue, Y Ddraig Goch (Welsh Dragon). Giordano CM23d; BHM 4079; Eimer 1925. 

Very Rare - from a mintage of 129 specimens, amongst the finest known, and the only official Royal mint medal for Edward VIII,

PCGS Graded SP 63.........$4750

Great Britain, George V, 1910-1936

Gold Medal (57.82gms) for the.Union of South Africa and Opening of the First Parliament, 1910, by the Soho Scientific Instrument Co [London], half-length bust of the King three-quarters l., wearing Garter robes, GEORGIVS V DG BRITT OMN REX FD IND IMP, rev. branch draped with shields of Provinces, date to l., TO COMMEMORATE THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA AND THE OPENING OF THE FIRST PARLIAMENT BY HRH THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT KC – VISCOUNT GLADSTONE GOVERNOR GENL – GENL BOTHA FIRST UNION PREMIER, 4(BHM.4020; W&E.5014)

extremely rare - only 2 specimens graded.

PCGS graded SP 62...........$5750

Great Britain, George V, 1910-1936

The King's Prize Medal, Wellington College, awarded to Kenneth Harwood Crossley in 1922

King's Medal, G.V.R. (Edge named: 1922. Kenneth Harwood Crossley.( 56.0g.) 44mm., reverse inscription within beaded circle: 'Duty to God and Man', around: 'In Honor of Arthur Duke of Wellington', reverse engraved to edge, 23 Karat gold, ,

Royal Mint issue.

PCGS Graded SP 63.................$4500

Great Britain, George VI (1936-1952)

George VI, Coronation, 1937, official large gold medal, by Percy Metcalfe, crowned bust l., rev., crowned bust l. of Queen Elizabeth, 57mm., wt. 121.42gms. the lightest of handling marks, virtually mint state with superb 'cameo' busts (BHM.4314; Eimer 2046; Woll.29

offered with (excellent) original case of issue

Quite a rare medal with only 274 specimens struck. The last and largest (4 ounces of .925 gold) official gold coronation medal.

PCGS Graded SP 62..... sold

Great Britain, George VI (1936-1952)

Small Official Gold Coronation medal , 1937 by Percy Metcalf/ 22.9gms. King George on obverse and Queen Elizabeth on the reverse .BHM-4314, Eimer-2046

Rare from a Mintage of 422 and especialy rare this high grade. Pristine surfaces with full mint bloom

PCGS Proof 63DCAM...........$2600



Central American Union Pact Gold Medals 1890. 32.30 gms Obv: Viva La Republica de Centro America liberty cap under a rainbow over four mountains withing a triangle. Rev: Dios Union Libertad Guatemala 1890 around Pacto de union 15 de octubre 1889 loot al Patriotismo within,


ex John Whitney Walter collection. Very Rare.

Sold with matching silver medal also MS 63

NGC graded MS-63...........$4500

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.)

PCGS Graded SP 61..........$7500

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



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