100928 | GERMANY. Avian silver Prize Medal.
100928 | GERMANY. Silver Prize Medal. Issued circa 1900 (engraved 1902). For the best breed of mugellese (partridge-colored Italian hen) presented by the Avian Breeding Society of Speyer held in Kaiserslautern (45mm, 42.26 g, 12h). By O. Oertel in Berlin.
DEM VERDIENSTE, various birds flying and standing on ground line, including turkey, canary, rooster, duck, and doves / Oak wreath containing engraving: "Für / den besten Stamm / rebhuhnfarbiger Italiener / gest. v. / Geflügelz–Verein / Speyer / Kaiserslautern 1902" in seven line. Edge: Plain.
Mint State. Exceptionally prooflike, with mirrored fields and frosted devices; a hint of toning near the edges adds further charm to the obverse; a fair number of hairlines are noted, however.
The practice of breeding and keeping birds––known as aviculture––has been a long-standing hobby of bird enthusiasts, with the Avicultural Society of America being founded in 1927. In Europe, however, the organized practice dates back even further, with numerous local and regional clubs––especially in Germany––dedicated to the pursuit in the 19th century. Similar to kennel clubs, these groups would organize competitions in which a participant’s flock could be judged against their peers, with the top finishers receiving prize medals for their bird(s). These medals were sometimes struck in different metals in order to distinguish placement, while other times the ranking may be indicated in the text. To add a further degree of personalization, some were engraved in order to convey the specific chapter that hosted the competition and/or the recipient of the prize. These medals also presented their designer with an excellent chance to showcase their avian artistry, as few aspects of numismatics display birds as the prime subject and in such detail.