Medallions

The medallions shown here all date from the early 20th century.

Medallions were first produced in small numbers by the Romans as a means of rewarding victorious generals. The art of making them was revived during the Renaissance when sculptors and jewellers produced individually cast medallions. These commemorated successful battles or the reigns of rulers, Only the aristocracy could afford these costly items, and so they were often displayed in special cabinets. Methods of die-casting large medallions were perfected in the 19th century, The initial medallion was designed by specialist sculptors or medallists, but the finished product was mass produced. As a result, medallions became popular collectable objects for the middle classes, although the subjects shown still celebrated an event or person.

During the First World War medallions were produced not only as commemorative items but also for propaganda purposes, and as a means of raising money for the war effort.

The sinking of the <em>Lusitania</em>Karl Goetz
The sinking of the Lusitania

The obverse shows Death selling tickets at Cunard’s New York office beneath a German sign that says business first. A man reads a newspaper article about the U-boat menace and the German ambassador raises a warning finger. The reverse shows the sinking Lusitania, with armaments falling from her deck and German words that say no contraband.
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The sinking of the <em>Lusitania</em>Karl Goetz
The sinking of the Lusitania

The obverse shows Death selling tickets at Cunard’s New York office beneath a German sign that says business first. A man reads a newspaper article about the U-boat menace and the German ambassador raises a warning finger. The reverse shows the sinking Lusitania, with armaments falling from her deck and German words that say no contraband.
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Dixmuiden: withstand the raging of the stormUnknown
Dixmuiden: withstand the raging of the storm

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Grieving woman and child at a soldier's graveMarcelle Lancelot-Croce
Grieving woman and child at a soldier's grave

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Heroes of VerdunCharles Pillet
Heroes of Verdun

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Unnamed prize-winners medallionLouis-Alexandre Bottee; Adolphe Rivet
Unnamed prize-winners medallion

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Burial of the unknown French soldierMarcel Dammann
Burial of the unknown French soldier

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To the glory of the armies of right and libertyJulien Prosper Legastelois
To the glory of the armies of right and liberty

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Versailles peace treaty, 1919Raoul Benard
Versailles peace treaty, 1919

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ANZAC: in eternal remembrance 1914–19Dora Ohlfsen
ANZAC: in eternal remembrance 1914–19

The Australian sculptor Dora Ohlfsen designed this medallion while she was working in Rome. It was manufactured in England. Ohlfsen returned to Australia in 1920 to promote the sale of the medallion in aid of permanently disabled Australian and New Zealand soldiers. The obverse shows the figure of Australia crowning her dead son with laurel.
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John Bull (England) tries to presuade a reluctant Uncle Sam (United States) to cross the Atlantic and join the warKarl Goetz
John Bull (England) tries to presuade a reluctant Uncle Sam (United States) to cross the Atlantic and join the war

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U-Boat blockadeKarl Goetz
U-Boat blockade

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England's honourable flag: U-41Karl Goetz
England's honourable flag: U-41

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The awakening of Australian Art Dora Ohlfsen
The awakening of Australian Art

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I shall strike the stars [reverse]Marcel Dammann
I shall strike the stars [reverse]

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