101150 | GREAT BRITAIN. Charles Darwin bronze Award Medal.
101150 | GREAT BRITAIN. Charles Darwin bronze Award Medal. Issued 1880 or later by the Midland Union of Natural History Societies for the Darwin Prize [unawarded] (44mm, 39.11 g, 12h). By J. Moore in Birmingham.
Bust facing slightly right / THE DARWIN MEDAL / AWARDED TO / FOUNDED BY THE MIDLAND UNION OF NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETIES 1880, elaborate scroll left blank for engraving; branch of coral below. Edge: Plain.
Choice Mint State. Rich red-brown surfaces, with a great deal of brilliance; a few subtle rim bruises are noted merely for completeness. Very rare and interesting. Compare to a slightly different Darwin medal contemporaneous with this one, struck for the Royal Society, which just realized a total of €1,020 (after the buyer's fee) in late May.
Very little can be located relating to the history of this medal as well as the number of specimens issued during the late 19th century, and they are missing from any public sales from the past two decades. An article from the 9 July 1887 issue of The Gardeners’ Chronicle (p. 51) reveals a brief history of the medal and its recipients up to that point:
“THE DARWIN MEDAL—At the annual meeting of the Midland Union of Natural History Societies, held on Wednesday, July 6, at Malvern, the Darwin Medal, which is this year set apart for Archæology, was awarded to Mr. Edward W. Badger, M.A., of King Edward’s High School, Birmingham, for his paper on “The Monumental Brasses of Warwickshire.” The adjudicators were the Very Rev. J. J. Stewart Perowne, D.D., Dean of Peterborough; M. H. Bloxham, Esq.; John Amphlett, Esq.; W. H. Duignan, Esq.; and J. A. Cossins, Esq. The adjudicators’ report speaks in high terms of the value and interest of the paper, and comments upon the care and ability evidenced in its preparation. The Darwin Medal was founded in 1880 by the Midland Union of Natural History and other scientific societies for the purpose of encouraging original research by members of the societies forming the Union. The scheme was submitted to Mr. Charles Darwin, and received his cordial approval. With his permission the prize was named after him. The subjects for which the Medal is awarded are geology, archæology, zoology, and botany. It has been previously gained four times—in 1881, by Mr. Edward Wilson, F.G.S., for geological research; in 1882, by Professor A. M. Marshall, D.Sc. (of Owen’s College), and Mr. W. P. Marshall, M.I.C.E., for their investigations into the life-history of the “Pennatulida;” in 1884, by Mr. W. B. Grove, B.A., for a monograph on the “Pilobolidæ,” and other botanical papers; and in 1885, by Mr. W. J. Harrison, F.G.S., for geological research. It was not awarded in 1883 or in 1886. The medal is a handsome one, the dies for which were engraved by Mr. Joseph Moore, of Birmingham. On the obverse is a finely executed bas-relief bust of Charles Darwin, and on the other a branch of coral, commemorative of an important research made by the great naturalist. This is the first time the Medal has been awarded to an archaeologist.”
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