Liverpool exhibition medal from 1886 sells at CNG
- Published: May 10, 2021, 8 AM
A bronze medal from 1886, celebrating Queen Victoria’s opening of the International Exhibition of Navigation, Commerce and Industry in Liverpool, England, and the festival more broadly, sold at a recent auction.
The medal, in Classical Numismatic Group’s May 5 electronic auction No. 491, realized a $60 hammer price against a $100 estimate, illustrating that there are bargains aplenty in world numismatics, especially in medals and tokens.
Queen Victoria, who appears on the obverse of the medal, opened the exhibition on May 11, 1886.
Liverpool was home to a thriving shipbuilding industry (producing, within 25 years, one of the world’s most famous vessels, the RMS Titanic), and naturally the city would promote an arm of its economy. This was an era when numerous cities held many exhibitions, most long forgotten, save for medallic commemorations of the events.
Elkington & Co., noted on the obverse in tiny letters, created the medal, which weighs 57.92 grams.
The reverse of the medal bears the full name of the event: INTERNATIONAL · EXHIBITION · OF · NAVIGATION · TRAVELLING · COMMERCE · AND MANUFACTURES · LIVERPOOL · 1886. The main scene on the reverse shows an allegorical image of Industry wearing a mural crown and holding a wreath and winged caduceus, standing, facing, on an ornate base decorated with a civic coat of arms and dolphin supporters, with fruits of commerce at her feet and a globe behind. In the background are a lighthouse, sailing ship, steamship and dock, with a radiance behind.
Both bronze and silver versions of this medal exist, according to British Commemorative Medals And Their Values by Christopher Eimer, where they are cataloged as Eimer 1727.
This example has brown surfaces and is “lightly wiped on obverse,” but otherwise as issued, according to the auction house, and is accompanied by the original Elkington & Co. presentation box.
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