I purchased this medallion from a dealer at the Kentucky Flea
Market in Louisville on Labor Day weekend. I have been unable to
find this medallion on any website.
The medallion on the obverse states “Imperial International
Exhibition London,” and on the reverse it states “Shepherd BVSH 1909.”
The medallion appears to be sterling silver in composition. Can you
give me information on this medallion.
Jerry Bennett / Louisville, Ky.
The Imperial International Exhibition was held in the White District
section of Shepherd’s Bush, in west London, in 1909.
It was the second exhibition on the grounds. The 1909 “world’s
fair,” celebrated the imperial achievements of the Triple-Entente
Powers: France, Russia, and Britain.
At one time, exhibitions and “world’s fairs” were rather popular,
and many medals were issued for the events or to be used as prizes.
The reader’s medal could be silver-plated, silver or merely “white
metal.” A specific gravity test would confirm which of those options
is correct. A Dix Noonan Webb auction from May 10, 2007, and Victoria
& Albert Museum archives list a gold-plated silver version.
The obverse of the medal shows an allegorical scene of Victory
crowning a craftsman, and the reverse depicts a female figure blowing
a trumpet over a view of the exhibition buildings (the white buildings
gave the area its “White City” name). Also on the reverse are two
putti (chubby male children) holding an engraved plaque.
Artist Frank Bowcher designed the medal for Birmingham jeweler
Vaughtons, which still operates today.
Auction records for the piece are scant, so finding a meaningful
value is a challenge. The medal is not listed in Christopher Eimer’s
British Commemorative Medals, likely due to space
considerations (the Eimer work, updated in 2011, is not intended to be exhaustive).
The example sold in the Dix Noonan Webb auction realized £172.50
($343.60 U.S.), including 15 percent buyer’s fee, but it was engraved
for presentation as an award, and it may have a different value than a
medal not engraved, like your example.
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