Eternal Spirit of the Chainless Mind

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.


Lord Byron Medallion by Ron Dutton

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 Prisoner of Chillon – a deadly dull poem

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…

14 thoughts on “Eternal Spirit of the Chainless Mind

  1. tootlepedal

    If ever a coin stops long enough in my pocket to let me have a good look at it, I will check to see if it looks interesting. I was party to selling eight filing cabinets today which rather surprised me.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Well done! I presume it saves you needing to move them to the new place.

      There are few decent coins to be had in change at the moment, though this will change once people start finding the new alphabet 10 p coins.

  2. Laurie Graves

    This is a wonderful description—“liar, raconteur and bandit chief.” Also, very attractive coin. Not a huge fan of Byron either, but he has endured, hasn’t he?

      1. Laurie Graves

        Thanks, Quercus, and a good thing. Let’s just say that my life is not very wild. 😉 But to tell the truth, I wouldn’t want to be known for the things Byron is known for. Yikes!

    1. quercuscommunity

      One of my main jobs is answering the phone and breaking hopeful hearts. The old single colour £2 with the Claim of Right is a good one (far rarer than the Bill of Rights one) and Kew Gardens isa good 50p piece – you may find them in change if you are very lucky.


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