On display

This item is on display at Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Museum

Medal - Vietnam Medal, Specimen, Australia, 1964 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 18369

Specimen Vietnam Service Medal, designed by Andor Mészáros and minted by the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, in 1964.

Designed by renowned medallist Andor Mészáros, this medal was issued for military service in Vietnam. It was awarded to Australian and New Zealand armed forces serving in South Vietnam after 28 May 1964 for one day's service on land, 28 days aboard ship or thirty days of official visits.

The Department of Defence was unhappy with the proposed designs from conventional military artists and approached Andor. He was opposed to the Vietnam War, and accepted the commission in part because he feared another artist would depict a glorification of the conflict. His design features a naked man holding two worlds apart, which he said 'symbolised the Australian and New Zealand forces keeping the totalitarian and democratic worlds apart.' Prime Minister Gorton said it was 'a departure from customary medal designs' but the Minister of Defence, Sir Allen Fairhall, defended both the medal and the thinking behind it. The design was approved by the Queen, and features her portrait on the obverse. This medal is a specimen issued to Museum Victoria for display purposes.
A cupro-nickel medal with ribbon. The obverse features a crowned bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right; around, ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA F. D. The reverse depicts a naked man holding two spheres apart, with the lettering VIETNAM arranged above. The edge is impressed COLLECTORS ITEM.
Statement Of Significance:
For over half a century, sculptors Andor (1900-1973) and Michael (1945- ) Meszaros have created medals that reflect the high points of life in Australia. From major awards and portraits of eminent Australians to artwork celebrating popular culture and the natural world, these objects illuminate our culture and history. Grounded in a centuries-old European art tradition, the medals create connections across disciplines and link such diverse subjects as scientific advances, religious themes, sport, the performing arts and motherhood. Through their public and private commissions and their personal artworks, the Meszaros sculptors have defined the modern Australian medal.
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 105 mm (Height), 36 mm (Width)
Dimension Comment: 38 * 56

More information

Tagged with: vietnam war 1959-1975, wars conflicts, medals
Themes this item is part of: Andor Mészáros, Medal Artist (1900-1972), Public Life & Institutions Collection, HM Queen Elizabeth II (1926- ), Migration Collection, Numismatics & Philately Collection, Meszaros Medals Collection
On Display at: Melbourne Museum
Primary Classification: MEDALS
Secondary Classification: Military Campaigns
Tertiary Classification: army campaigns
Series: War
DateEra: 1964 AD
Obverse Description: Crowned bust of Elizabeth right; around, ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA F.D.
Reverse Description: Naked ANZAC holding two worlds (totalitarian and democratic) apart; around above VIETNAM.
Edge Description: COLLECTORS ITEM
Shape: Round and ribbon
Material: Copper Nickel
Issued By: Federal Government, Australia
Artist: Andor Mészáros
Person Depicted: HM Queen Elizabeth II
References: Joslin 183
Royal Warrant for issue of medal: http://www.defence.gov.au/medals/Content/+040%20Campaign%20Medals/+050%201945-1975/+080%20Vietnam%20Medal/Vietnam%20Medal%20Royal%20Warrant.pdf
  1. [Catalogue] Sharples, John P. 1990. Medals as Art: Australia and the Meszaros Tradition.
  2. [Article] Jewell, Raymond T. 1986. Michael Meszaros: The Man and his Medals. Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. 2: 4-24.
  3. [Book], B Simpkin - Spink & Sons Ltd., A Litherland - Spink & Sons Ltd., E Joslin - Spink & Sons Ltd., British Battles and Medals, Spink & Son Ltd., London, 1988

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