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.

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