GREAT BRITAIN, Remington typewriter royal appointment medal, 1895


GREAT BRITAIN, medal, 1895, Obverse: heads of Victoria, Edward, George, George L, FOUR GENERATIONS OF THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY, 1896 H. GRUEBER 37, SNOW HILL, LONDON, E.C. COPYRIGHT, Reverse: crests, IN APPOINTMENT TO H.M. THE QUEEN REMINGTON TYPEWRITER H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES 100, CHRISTCHURCH ST. E.C., Edge: reeded, bronze, 32mm, 11.11g, edge bumps, XF

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A medal like this, made by a company announcing its royal contract to the world, was likely made to distribute to certain employees. There may be a silver version given to high executives.

In the 19th century medal shops proliferated, and people commissioned medals for all sorts of publicity purposes.

In England tokens started coming into use in the 16th century. Scotland and Ireland followed suit. Since the coinage was unified throughout the country there was not as much need for jetons in the counting houses to keep track of various currencies. But the neglect of the copper level of the market made for blooms of tokens in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Each bloom was suppressed by the government, which promised to do better, and, by the mid-19th century, finally succeeded. Token use, having become normalized, continued here and there into the 1980s.

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.