A Collection of Victorian & Edwardian Exhibition Medals.


Leslie L. Allen

Part 1.

Most of the medals in the collection are antiques, many are beautiful works of art, each one of them has a very interesting story to tell if time is taken to research it. The majority are in nice condition, and in a numbered case. The author became interested in exhibition medals in the 1970s when he found there were no reference works about them. If he had not become completely besotted by the Crystal Palace, and subsequently spent most of his spare time on producing The Worlds Show some research on these particular medals would no doubt have been undertaken. Since this is not possible, a record of these medals with a description of the details upon them is being published to acquaint other collectors, who may be looking for a rewarding field of research, that these pieces actually exist.

The 1840 Science & Art Exhibition at Newcastle upon Tyne is the earliest medal in the collection. This exhibition appears to have been held in the Church of St. Nicholas, and if so, it would naturally have been fairly limited in size and scope, whereas, some of the other exhibitions recorded here were held in enormous buildings containing everything imaginable, sometimes even massive working examples of engineering technology.

Apart from those struck for the Crystal Palaces, not many other exhibition medals appear to have been struck before the 1860’s, but, following on from the success of the 1862 International Exhibition at South Kensington, they did start to become very popular indeed. In fact throughout the United Kingdom, leading public minded citizens in most cities, and even in towns and villages, felt that the prestige to be gained from organising an industrial exhibition would re-assure the local population that they were innovative and in favour of social reform. Furthermore, it was quickly realised that to strike a medal was an economic way to extensively advertise their exhibition and at the same time provide a lasting memorial to it.

In total there is 180 medals in the collection, they all refer to exhibitions held in the United Kingdom. Some 80% are Victorian, 6 of which are not dated. This high proportion tends to reflect the ever growing interest that was shown by the general public in the remarkable industrial and scientific technological achievements of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Most of the prominent medalists of the period are represented in the collection, i.e. Allen & Moore; Fenwick; Jenkins; Ottley; Pinches; Restall; Sale; Spink; Vaughton and Wyon. Some 11% are silver, 56% bronze and 33% base metal.

The medals are listed by date within location as this provides more interest than one compiled by just the date alone. The majority of the London medals are listed by alphabet and date under the borough or the district. The name of the medallist has been recorded if known. The metal used and its size, in millimetres, is shown. A small number of the same medals have been collected in different metals, where this is the case, it is recorded in the entry.

If any of the following reference works describe any of the medals, it is acknowledged at the end of the entry by the use of the initials shown below,

BHM = British Historical Medals 1837-1901 by Lawrence Brown, London 1987.

E = British Commemorative Medals and their value by Christopher Eimer, London 1987.

F = Spinks Catalogue of British Commemorative Medals by Daneil Fearon, London 1984.

T = The Architectural Medal by Jeremy Taylor, London 1978.

W&E = Royal Commemorative Medals 1837-1977 by Andrew Wittlestone & Michael Ewing

Nottingham 1993 & 1998.

The collection is not definitive since the existence of approximately 100 other Victorian and Edwardian exhibition medals are known from places such as , Bath; Coventry; Derby; Dorking; Dorset; Eastbourne; Halifax; Hove; Isle of Wight; Keighley; Kendal; Nottingham; Oban; Peterborough; Reading; Rugby; Salford; Thornaby; Wakefield; Weston Super Mare and Whitehaven, to name but a few. All the medals referred to date from 1840-1910, arguably the most interesting period of modern history, therefore these are unlikely to amount to a high proportion of the overall number of exhibition medals that have been struck.

Description of terms used

Conjoined busts One bust overlapping the other both facing the same way

Diadem Type of small crown

Distaff A stick or spindle on which wool or flax is wound

Exergue The area of a medal often separated by a horizontal line and situated in the lower portion of the design, sometime containing a date or inscription

Field The plain background of the medal

Incuse Sunk into the surface of the medal

Laureate Wearing a laurel wreath

Legend An inscription

Obverse The side of a medal on which appears the principal design, often a portrait

Reverse The other side to the obverse, usually the secondary design

Signed The name of the medalist, usually found on the lower part of the design


1892 By W. J. Dingly Gilt bronze 32 mm.

Obverse Five line legend within a wreath of oak, Aberdeen Exhibition / Awarded / to / A. S. Cameron / 1892 Signed WDJ.

Reverse Blank.


1901 by Spink & Son Bronze 39 mm.

Obverse Six line legend, G. F. S. / Industrial / and Art / Exhibition / Bangor / May 1901.

Reverse FCW monogram within a wreath of oak. Signed Spink & Son London.

Barrow in Furness

1893 by A. Fenwick Bronze 42 mm.

Obverse Borough Arms. Legend around upon a raised border, St. James Industrial Art Exhibition / 1893 Signed A. Fenwick. F. Birmm

Reverse Laurel wreath.


1895 by ? Brass 19 mm.

Obverse A building between trees. Legend around upon a raised border, Belfast Art and Industrial Exhibition / 1895

Reverse City Arms and motto

BHM 3486


1865 by Allen & Moore Bronze 44 mm.

Obverse Beehive above city arms. Legend around upon a ribbon, Birmingham and Midland Counties / Industrial Exhibition

Reverse Tablet upon a laurel spray. Legend above, Exhibition Memorial below 1865 Signed J. Allen. D. & Moore. F.

1889 by H. Jenkins & Son White metal 38 mm.

Obverse Female on a winged terrestrial globe. Legend around upon a raised border, Electrical & Industrial Exhibition / Birmingham 1889.

Reverse Eight line Legend within a laurel wreath, The / Electrical and / Industrial / Exhibition / Bingley Hall / Birmingham / 1889 Signed Jenkins Birmm

BHM 3375.

1892 by J. A. Restall Silvered bronze 45 mm.

Obverse City Arms surrounded by industrial symbols. Signed J. A. Restall

Reverse Eight line legend within a laurel wreath, Trades Exhibition / Awarded / for / Excellence / of / Exhibit / 1892 / Bingley Hall Birmingham

1897 by H. B. Sale Bronze 45 mm.

Obverse City Arms. Legend around upon a raised border, National Trades & Industrial Exhibition / Birmingham / 1897. Signed H. B. Sale B’ham, Reverse Five line Legend in laurel wreath, Awarded / For / Excellence / Of / Exhibit.


1900 by J. A. Restall Gilt bronze 45 mm.

Obverse Britannia seated with shield bearing City Arms, lion at her feet. Legend above, The Twentieth Century Exhibition. / Birmingham. In exergue, 1900 Signed J. A. Restall Birm.

Reverse Legend in wreath of palm, Awarded / For / Merit.

1901 by H. Jenkins & Son Gilt bronze 63 mm.

Obverse Two shields on laurel spray. Legend below, Bingley Hall / Awarded to / E. F. Spicer. / FZS / for Artistic Taxidermy. Legend around upon a raised border, Birmingham Industrial Polytechnic Exhibition. 1901.

Reverse Two workmen at forge. Signed Jenkins Ltd. B’ham.

1904 by H. B. Sale Gilt white metal 41 mm.

Obverse City Arms above building. Legend on ribbon, National Trades Exhibition / Birmingham / Bingley Hall 1904. Signed Sale Coys Mill Birm.

Reverse Eight line legend in laurel wreath, Awarded / To / Palethorpes / Limited / For Excelence.

1905 by Vaughton & Son Bronze 39 mm.

Obverse Birmingham City Arms. Legend around upon a raised border, Midland Counties Exhibition. Signed Vaughton Birm.

Reverse Awarded to......

ND by Allen & Moore Bronze 51 mm.

Obverse City Arms below three tablets. Legend around on a raised border, Midland Counties Exhibition / Presented to....... Signed Josh. J. Allen. Des. Josh. Moore. Sc.

Reverse Industria standing holding distaff. Legend above, Prize Medal. Legend below, Industria.


1874 by Ottley White metal 45 mm.

Obverse Borough Arms. Legend around, Art and General Exhibition 1874 / John Pickup Esq Mayor

Reverse View of the Library. Legend above, Free Library and Museum. In exergue Blackburn / Opened June 11th 1874. Signed Ottley Birmm



1882 by Fattorini Bronze 45 mm.

Obverse Knowledge attended by Labour and Industry. Legend around upon a raised border, Bradford Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition. / 1882.

Reverse View of the College. Legend around upon a raised border, Bradford Technical College. / Labor Omnia Vincit. Signed Fattorini & Sons. Bradford

BHM 3125; T201a.


1903 by ? Bronze 44 mm.

Obverse Borough Arms. Legend around upon a raised border, Aquarium. Brighton, Exhibition. 1903.

Reverse Legend within a laurel wreath, Presented / to / Chas. May / June 11th / 1903.


1865 by W. Mack White metal 44 mm.

Obverse Draped bust of Viscount Palmerston half left. Legend around the border, Right Honourable Viscount Palmerston K.G. M.P. and P.C. signed W. Mack Bristol.

Reverse Twelve line legend, To Commemorate / The / Bristol, / West of England, / and South Wales. / Industrial Exhibition. / Opened by the / Right Honourable / Viscount Palmerston / At / Bristol / September 19th 1865.

BHM 2840

1893 by ? White metal 38 mm.

Obverse The Exhibition Building. Legend below, 1893.

Reverse Five line legend above a spray of oak, Bristol Industrial / and / Fine Art / Exhibition / 1893.

T 220a.


1888 by Baddeley & Reynolds Silvered white metal 57 mm.

Obverse Crowned conjoined shields. Legend around the border, Cardiff International Exhibition. / 1888

Reverse Legend in wreath of Laurel and Oak, Awarded to Messrs John Wyon & Co. Signed Baddeley & Reynolds London.

1888 Another similar specimen in Gilt bronze - Awarded to the Quadrant Safety Bicycle Co.

1896 by Maton White metal 32 mm.

Obverse Draped bust of mayor facing. Legend around the border, President the Right Hone Lord Windsor / Mayor of Cardiff. Signed Maton.

Reverse View of the exhibition building. Legend around upon a raised border, The Cardiff Fine Art Industrial and Maritime Exhibition / 1896. Signed Maton. Cardiff.

With this medal there is a red gilt embossed season ticket no. 758 issued to a Dr. R. Pritchard. Inside the cover is a sepia photograph of Dr. Prichard wearing a top hat.


1848 by ? White metal 30 mm.

Obverse The Shire Hall. Legend in exergue, Shire Hall.

Reverse Five line Legend, Chelmsford / Polytechnic / Exhibition / May / 1848



1896 by A. H. Darby Gilt silver 45 mm.

Obverse Industry holding scroll with cherub to left. Legend on scroll, Chester / Exhibition / 1896

Reverse Legend within a laurel wreath, Awarded to / P. Creighton for Scull Fixtures.


1890 by J. Moore Bronze 45 mm.

Obverse Laurel wreath. Legend around the border, Condover Industrial Exhibition 1890 / R. C. Wanstall Hon. Sec.

Reverse Industry seated with distaff. Legend above, Diligentia Vincit Omnia. Signed J. Moore.


1882 by ? Silver 44x44 mm.

Obverse Legend in centre of an eight pointed star, Darlington Industrial / Exhibition / 1882

Reverse Five line legend, Awarded / to / J. A. Chapman & Co. / for Bradbury’s / Rotary Machine.


1886 by J. Moore White metal 42 mm.

Obverse Legend in laurel wreath, Awarded to / Ellen B. Horton / for / Fancy Work. Legend around the border, Dawley Industrial Exhibition / Prize Medal. 1886.

Reverse Fame attended by Art & Industry. Signed J. Moore F.


1869 by L. C. Wyon Bronze 45 mm.

Obverse Victoria diademed head left. Legend above, Her Majesty Queen Victoria Signed L. C. Wyon

Reverse Legend in wreath of oak, Exhibition / of Arts / Science and / Manufactures / Devonport.

BHM 3108


1866 by J. Moore Bronze 51 mm.

Obverse Legend within a sexfoil, Prize medal / of the / Dudley / and Midland / Fine Arts / Scientific and / Industrial / Exhibition. Legend around upon a raised border, Held in Dudley / 1866

Reverse Symbols of learning within a quatrefoil. Signed J. Moore

End of Part 1.
to be continued....

©  Exhibition Study Group 2004