Aug 142012

As readers will be aware we like a mystery here at the Vault, and this medallion raised some intriguing questions.

Research revealed that the inspiration behind the medallion was a 15th century woodcut depicting a monetary workshop in Europe. The original design is believed to be by Leonhard Beck (1480 – 1542) but may also be attributed to Hans Burgkmair, The Elder (1473 – 1531).

It is interesting to note all the steps in the minting process: the furnace for smelting is featured in the upper left, with the figures cutting planchets, beating metal and striking coins, respectively. The chief ‘moneyer’ (or perhaps die engraver) is depicted at the top centre and appears to be supervising the whole operation.

Moneyers have a long tradition dating back through history, and were considered personally responsible for the weight and fineness of the metal coins they produced. There are many recorded instances of moneyers who produced short-weight coins, who were subsequently punished.

For example, in England, King Henry I held an ‘Assize of Moneyers’ at Winchester in 1124. Ninety-four coin makers were convicted of issuing sub-standard coins. As a punishment, the moneyers were mutilated, losing their right hands and one testicle – not surprisingly, the quality of English coins improved substantially!

The medallion was cast by the Royal Mint and quite how it came  into The Perth Mint’s historic coin and medallion collection remains a bit of a mystery. But we’re working on it…


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Sep 152011

Watch: Premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett unveils silver medallions for CHOGM 2011.

The Perth Mint has struck commemorative silver medallions for presentation to top-flight international netball and hockey players competing in Perth ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2011).

Commissioned by the Western Australian Government as a memento of each athlete’s time in Perth, each medallion is struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver and depicts a coloured portrayal of the city skyline, the Swan River and a stylised representation of an iconic black swan.

Perth Mint Chief Executive Officer Ed Harbuz said the historic Mint was proud to be invited to contribute to CHOGM 2011, a major event set to generate invaluable publicity for Perth and Western Australia when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opens proceedings on 28 October.  “The medallion is a superb advertisement for the State’s precious metal refining and coining capabilities, which are truly world-class,” he said.

Major Sports  Events for Perth

The pre-CHOGM tournaments will see the Australian Netball Diamonds face off against the New Zealand Silver Ferns as part of the Holden Netball Test Series.  The double-header at the Burswood Dome on 23 October will also pitch world number five South Africa against world number six Malawi.

Meanwhile, the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos will take on India, Pakistan, Malaysia and New Zealand in a new International Super Series at the Perth Hockey Stadium in Bentley between October 20 and 23.

More information

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Aug 182011

London has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately so these art-deco bronze medallions and plaquettes are marvellous reminders of the city’s graciousness.

Resting in The Perth Mint’s historic coin and medallion collection, they presented no obvious provenance. Appeals to the Victorian Museum and the Museum of London revealed little information. On the quest of uncovering the mystery, envoys (read emails) were sent to the four corners of the earth!

We are able to reveal that they were made for The British Empire Exhibition 1924 – 25, held at Wembley to showcase the finest in art, commerce and scientific achievements. They’re representative of around 200 pieces created at that time – either officially, by private businesses or as the result of competitions. Many were actually made at the Exhibition.

Architectural gems featured on this selection comprise the Palace of Westminster, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, the National Gallery and St Martin’s in the Fields Church at Trafalgar Square, and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Information courtesy Trevor I Harris – The Medals and Medallions of The British Empire Exhibition

Jun 032011

This magnificent example of a William Branwhite Clarke 1878 bronze medal came into the custody of The Perth Mint when the Sydney Mint closed in 1926.

Awarded by the Royal Society of New South Wales for work in natural science, it is the oldest of Australia’s scientific medals. Recipients include Sir Richard Owen, Edward John Eyre and Sir Douglas Mawson. It remains a highly-prized award among modern Australian scientists.

William Branwhite Clarke was an Anglican churchman who arrived from England in 1839. It was as a geologist, however, that he left his mark in Australia. Working in the Blue Mountains in 1841, he was possibly the first European to find gold embedded in quartz rocks. Clarke, who predicted that New South Wales was ‘abundantly rich in gold’, was warned by Governor Gipps to keep quiet “or we shall all have our throats cut”. The Australian gold rush did not begin until Edward Hargraves’ well publicised discovery of gold near Bathhurst ten years later.

In recognition of his investigation of Australia’s gold resources, Clarke was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1876. The medal designs are by J.S. and A.B. Wyon, members of the eminent family of English coin and medallion engravers.