Medal That Cost Engraver His Sight

Smaller than a penny but minutely engraved with the profiles and (names!) of 21 European royals, this medallion is a touching tribute from one old man to his colleagues at a Birmingham die sinking factory. Approaching the end of his working life and with his sight failing, the man (whose name we don’t even know) spent every spare moment working to create something for his workmates to remember him by. The intricate work took seven years’ and hastened his blindness. He used the die to cast just five examples and then broke it up, retired and died within a few months completely blind.

Although Queen Victoria is the central portrait on one side and the (then?) Prince and Princess of Wales on the other, this is very hard to date. Various other nobles, the Duchess of Connaught and Princess Louise among them, can be seen round the outside. The only source we have is the Daily Mail article seen here but if anyone knows any more please get in touch.

5 thoughts on “Medal That Cost Engraver His Sight

  1. I love this article – true or not? I bought an auction “job lot” that has this very medal, to a tee, BUT it’s in silver. I guess they’ve used one of the original bronze ones to cast more in silver. Strangely, yours is the one and ONLY reference point on the internet – Thank you for that.

    1. Thanks for your comment, David. And I’m glad we were able to give you more information about this. The newspaper article is all we had to go on so you now know as much as us!

      1. We appear to have one of these (possibly 2) set in a pendant. Found on a beach many years ago. Always a curiosity and very excited to have found your post and article. We will keep researching and hopefully might find further information

  2. I have one of these as well, I could not find anything about it and the hole is in the exact place as the one in the photo.
    Of course, I’ve no idea if they all had a hole and in the same place.
    Happy to post a picture

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