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Medal - International Exhibition, Sydney, Silver Prize, New South Wales, Australia, 1879 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 20566

Summary:
Australia New South Wales Sydney
International Exhibition Prize 1879 - 1880 (AD)
Mint: Sydney
Awarded to: Australian & Melbourne Distilleries
Other Details: A large silver prize medal (76 mm) featuring a view of the imposing Sydney Garden Palace Exhibition Building, built to house the International Exhibition. The medal was awarded to the Australian & Melbourne Distilleries (two separate companies - the reason for the joint medal is unclear) for 'special excellence of spirits' in classes 635-638 - wines, spirits, fermented and other drinks. Their malt whisky was highly commended, as was their white spirit, gin and cordials; their spirits of wine (62%) was commended (Official Record, p.902). Their medal was later owned by George McArthur, a significant nineteenth century collector. The Sydney International Exhibition was the first true international exhibition that an Australian colony had hosted. The Exhibition attracted over 1.1 million visitors, at a time when the population of New South Wales was 739,385. Awards for exhibitors were announced by the judges on the closing day, 20 April 1880. Gold, large silver, small silver and bronze medals and diplomas were awarded. The medal's obverse was based on a design by Samuel Begg and subsequently altered by J.S. and A.B. Wyon, who prepared the dies. The wreath of Australian flowers on the reverse was designed by James W. Sayers. The gold and silver medals were struck at the Sydney branch of the Royal Mint, and the bronze medals were struck in London. About 7,554 awards were made. The exhibition was so popular that the government purchased many of the prize exhibits and set up the Technological, Industrial and Sanitary Museum, the grandparent of the Powerhouse Museum. The Garden Palace burned down in 1882.
Description:
A large silver prize medal (76 mm) struck at the Sydney Mint from dies supplied by J.S. & A.B. Wyon of London. It features a view of the Sydney Garden Palace Exhibition Building with a figure of New South Wales standing in front holding the colonial shield and surrounded by exhibition goods. The reverse is inscribed with the winners name, Australian & Melbourne Distilleries, for their spirits.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 1976
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 76 mm (Diameter)
Dimension Comment: Weight > 100 g

More information

Tagged with: distilleries, exhibitions, spirits
Themes this item is part of: Australian & Melbourne Distilleries, Victoria, Royal Mint, Medal Makers, Sydney, New South Wales, Public Life & Institutions Collection, J.S. & A.B. Wyon, Engravers, London, England, J.S. & A.B. Wyon, Engravers, London, England, Branch Mints of the Royal Mint
Primary Classification: MEDALS
Secondary Classification: Civil
Tertiary Classification: exhibition prizes
Series: Australian Exhibition Medals
DateEra: 1879 AD
Obverse Description: Figure of New South Wales surrounded by works of industry before exhibition building; around, * INTERNATIONAL * EXHIBITION * SYDNEY N.S.W.* M.D.CCC.LXXIX
in exergue, waves, below these waves in tiny letters the artists names, J.S. & A.B. WYON
Reverse Description: J.S. & A.B.WYON ; Engraved within the wreath: AWARDED / TO THE / PROPRIETOR / OF THE / AUSTRALIAN & MELBOURNE / DISTILLERIES / FOR / SPECIAL EXCELLENCE / OF / SPIRITS
Edge Description: Plain
Inscriptions: Plain (edge)
*INTERNATIONAL*EXHIBITION*/SYDNEY N.S.W.*M.D.CCC LXXIX/ORTA RECENS QUAM PURA NITES/J.S. & A.B.WYON ; Allegorical figure of NSW amidst exhibits (obverse)
J.S. & A.B.WYON ; Engraved within the wreath: AWARDED/TO THE/PROPRIETOR,/ OF THE/AUSTRALIAN & MELBOURNE/DISTILLERIES/FOR/SPECIAL EXCELLENCE/OF/SPIRITS(reverse)
Shape: Round
Material: Silver-plated
Issued By: Australian International Exhibition Commissioners, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1879-1880
Mint: Royal Mint, Sydney Branch, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1879
Engraver: Joseph Wyon, London, England, Great Britain
Engraver: A. Wyon
Artist: Mr James Sayer
Artist: Mr Samuel Begg
Awarded To: Australian & Melbourne Distilleries, Australia, 1879

Won medal for special excellence of their Spirits
References: Hock.p.261
Bibliography:
  1. [Article] Carlisle, Leslie J. 1978. Australia's First International Exhibition: Sydney 1879. Report of the Australian Numismatic Society. Yearbook No.3: 22-31.
  2. [Book], Robert Freestone, Roslyn Maguire, Peter Proudfoot, Colonial City, Global City: Sydney's International Exhibition 1879, Crossing Press, Darlinghurst, 2000
  3. [Book], Official Record of the Sydney International Exhibition, 1879, Sydney, 1881

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