This is a medal commemorating the famous Nottinghamshire poet Lord Byron. Apart from poetry he is best known for letchery, fathering Ada Lovelace, and being a hero of the Greek War of Independence. I’m not a great fan of long poems written in old fashioned English, so Byron’s poetic brilliance has passed me by. Same goes for his contribution to the Greek War – he seems to have arrived and died without doing much in the way of liberating Greece, though the Greeks seem happy enough with him.
He does, however provide me with half my knowledge of Assyrians, which came in handy when viewing this blog. It’s an interesting post, with excellent pictures of Assyrian carvings.
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold.
If you want to read a good book which includes Byron’s final years you can do worse than read Lord Byron’s Jackal. It’s an excellent book about Edward Trelawny, friend of Shelley and Byron, liar, raconteur and bandit chief. As the man who ordered Shelley’s boat and who went to Greece with Byron he probably did more damage to English Literature than Mills & Boon.
The reverse inscription comes from the poem The Prisoner of Chillon. It’s depressing and it’s long, so I linked to Wikipedia instead of the poem itself.
The medal, as you can tell from the label in the lid, is by Ron Dutton. He’s a moderately well-known designer of art medals and designed the reverse of the 1999 £2 coin which commemorates the Rugby World Cup.
I saw one of these medals at the recent Numismatic Society meeting and, when someone mentioned they would like one I said we had one in the shop. The collector who had given the talk immediately jumped in to tell the interested party ours was too expensive, as he had bought his in auction for a quarter of the price.
This shows the elasticity of price in collecting circles. Our price was fair for a modern art medal, but to a collector, it seemed expensive. Things often seem expensive to collectors, but when they come to sell them they are always happy to accept a profit. Five days later someone bought it off our eBay site.
It just goes to show…