GREAT BRITAIN, 19th century school award medal


GREAT BRITAIN, medal, no date (19th century, Obverse: REWARD OF SUPEROR MERIT in wreath, Reverse: PRIZE FOR SCIENCE engraved, ornate border of filleted roses, white metal, 45mm, 25.51g, high relief, XF

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The use of medals as school awards was popular in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. White metal is an alloy of tin and zinc mostly, popularly used for cheap medals because it starts out very shiny. It tones dark gray, but that would happen later.

There are two kinds of things that are called “medals.” One is things that look like coins but don’t express a value. Sometimes those medals are considerably larger than most coins. The other kind of medal is a metal thing designed to be displayed on one’s chest, often a reward for something, often in a military context. If the medal is small enough it is sometimes called a “medallet.”

The word “exonumia” is used to describe all kinds of things that are “like” coins but are not coins.I wrote a blog post on that subject. Basic categories: 1. used like a coin but not issued by a national government, 2. looks like a coin but not made for spending, 3. other things that we are interested in.