History and Heroes

I like medallions.

I particularly like well-made Victorian medallions in their original boxes, but that’s just another case of me having champagne tastes and a beer income.

So here are some medallions we put on eBay this week.

First up is Canterbury Cathedral, a well-struck high relief medallion with lots of detail. It’s not the most inspiring subject but it’s done well and there’s an aura of quality hanging round it. This aura obviously communicates itself electronically as it has already sold.



The next one commemorates 21 years of the Volunteer Movement. Founded in 1860 as a reaction to political tensions with the French, the Volunteers built on the tradition of local units raised in Napoleonic times. After nearly 50 years they became the Territorial Force in 1908 and they are now known as the Army Reserve. Each incarnation has seen them become more serious and slightly more removed from the local community. I suppose that’s progress.

It is an extremely well-struck medal and this particular example has traces of original lustre and the box of issue. The box has seen some wear over the years but retains its original velvet and silk lining.

On the reverse, St Michael guards a woman an children, supported by three warriors representing England, Scotland and  Ireland. You can tell this from the rose, thistle and shamrock on their shields.

The final medal was produced by the Royal Mint in 1990. It’s good for a modern medal, but still suffers by comparison to proper, old medallions. It commemorates 200 years of lifeboat design. I like it because it has an interesting historical subject and it’s treated with enthusiasm (even if it does have a dull, low-relief reverse).

-Of all the heroes we’ve ever had, you’ll have to search hard to beat a lifeboat man, as this link shows.

19 thoughts on “History and Heroes

  1. Clare Pooley

    Beautiful medals! I especially like the Canterbury Cathedral details and the reverse of the Volunteer Movement one with St Michael. The boxes are lovely too. Thanks so much for the lifeboat man link.

  2. jodierichelle

    So interesting about the 3 shields representing the 3 countries. That would have slipped right by me. DId you know this kind of stuff before going to work there?

  3. Laurie Graves

    One of the things I really like about your blog is how you introduce me to subjects I’ve never heard of. Take the lifeboat man. Until today, I didn’t know he existed, but after reading your piece and the link, I am filled with admiration. Also, beautiful box with the velvet and silk lining.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Thank you. 🙂

      That box is 137 years old and although I have to put a value on it, because it’s my job, I can’t really put words to the feeling of handling such a well-preserved piece of history.


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