Medals Of All Kinds
Medals All the Way
We have all received a medal for one thing or another, but how much do we know about the history and the uses of medals? How long have we been using them as a way to commemorate an event or award it as a distinction to someone? Let’s have a look…
The First Medal
According to Britannica.com, the modern commemorative medal was made in 1438-39 by the Italian painter Antonio Pisano (c. 1395 – 1455). It was called a Pisanello and it portrayed the Byzantine emperor John Vlll Palaeologus.
Receiving such an award for any scores of reasons and achievements is a highly prestigious, enduring accolade, to the extent that older and now scarce awards are highly sought after by collectors. They will pay top dollar for desired items because the new acquisition will enhance or possibly complete their prized collection.
Throughout the military forces – the army, navy and air force – especially during military campaigns, conflicts and wars, varieties of military medals were awarded to soldiers, sailors and aircrew, who selflessly performed acts of exceptional bravery, valour, courage, and gallantry in the face of adversity.
Although military awards were proudly received and treasured thereafter, British and Allied combatants also referred to these hard-won pieces as “gongs”, much in keeping with typical English vernacular and humour during World Wars l and ll.
Medals awarded to winners and those who came in second and third in Olympic events are respectively known as gold, silver and bronze. Contrary to popular belief, these discs aren’t all made of pure precious metals, but there are strict rules about their content and dimensions.
Both the gold and silver medals consist of a minimum of 92,5% silver, which gives them considerable weight, relative to size. The pinnacle piece – gold – has to be plated with a minimum of 6g of gold and is thus not solid gold. The use of solid gold would undoubtedly be too costly for the Olympic Committee. Bronze discs are exactly that – made of an alloy of copper and another metal, usually tin, which constitutes bronze when mixed together.
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