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George III Golden Jubilee Medal 1810

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Obv. Laureate head of George III, right. GOD PROTECTS THE JUST

Rev. Inscription within rays G III / COMPLEATED / THE 50TH YEAR / OF HIS REIGN / OCTR. 25TH / 1810.

1810 BHM#682 25mm, AE C. AE silvered C. by Kettle & Sons.


I have another example of this common medal & Vern has 4, plus there is one other on omnicoin. So what makes this one special? I know it has been struck from a beautiful die & is in great condition, not that. There are variations in letter sizes etc across the medals, not that either. No, what makes this special is that all the other 6 are signed Kettle under the bust!


So is this medal a first strike from this die & Kettle was added after, or is that a die crack, in the enlarged portion picture, and the die was scrapped?


If anyone has ,or has seen, an unsigned version of this medal I would love to hear of it.




Even the reverse is a bit special, it must have been a very early strike as you can still make out the reducing lines.


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Tres cool. I would guess an early die strike where someone noticed the signature missing and re-engraved it later. Or it could be a really excellent knockoff where they didn't take the chance of signing Kettle's name. Not to mention the stunning condition of the silvering!

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The fascinating aspect of the piece for me is that it was using the 1780's era profile of the King, but by 1810 I have to ponder that he was looking a bit closer to the long haired, very overweight portrayal of what he was conjectured to have begun looking like ca. that last decade of his life.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Even the reverse is a bit special, it must have been a very early strike as you can still make out the reducing lines."


Constanius, can you elaborate on "reducing lines" and the function they served on a medal such as yours?

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"Even the reverse is a bit special, it must have been a very early strike as you can still make out the reducing lines."


Constanius, can you elaborate on "reducing lines" and the function they served on a medal such as yours?


Here is an image of another one of my medals with clearly visible reducing lines. Note the unfinished central portion(perhaps the reducer they were using could not cut to the very centre), which should have been hand-cut and the lines polished out but I believe the die was scrapped, read the 'LINK' for the details.




Rather than cutting a design directly in a steel die(which obviously had to be the right size & difficult to correct any errors) a large wax or plaster design was made which was easy to alter. Then this was used to, by using a pantograph to reduce the size, to cut the unhardened steel die.



Most modern coins & medals are produced using reducing machines. From the Ottawa Mint: " 5. Engraving

The Mint's engravers execute the meticulous designs that grace finished coins. Each design is carefully translated from paper to die, and quality controlled every step of the way.


Etching and copying

The original design is etched onto discs much larger than the coin to retain as much detail as possible. A plaster copy of the coin design is transferred onto a rubber disc, producing a positive image. It is then transferred onto an epoxy resin disc to produce a negative impression of the original design.



A reducing machine works like a key cutter by following the contours of the original epoxy disc to engrave a smaller scale version onto a brass plate.

Die making

Dies used to strike coins are copied from the reduced original design. A second reducing machine takes the brass plate and shrinks all of the information onto a steel die called the matrix, technically the original die. This can take up to 48 hours, after which the matrix is copied to produce the master punch, a process called hobbing.


The master punch is then hobbed onto another blank die to produce working dies (or proof dies), which are used in presses to make coins. Proof dies are capable of striking coins and leaving a frosted image on top of a mirror-like background"

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I should have mentioned that all dies made for striking had been engraved by hand until the invention of the reducing machine early in the 18th century. Since that time hand engraving & machine engraving have co-existed. Since early documentation is scant for which method was used for each particular medal, it is helpful to have clear evidence for early medals being produced with the help of reducing machines.


In theory a reduced design should be 'perfect' when the die is cut, hence no mistakes and re-engraving marks etc whereas hand-engraved dies often show signs of re-engraving & trial strikes are often available to show the progress of the hand-engraving . So seeing as sometimes you can visually tell a medal is hand-engraved, with machine ones not so easy(unless you can see the reducing lines, which should have been polished out)), you have to rely on the lack of evidence of 'corrections' to the die & assumption, or if you are lucky, the large wax & plaster models are still in existence as in Wyon's wax Queen Victoria.


The very existence of the gilt trial strike is clear evidence of hand-engraving, notice the lettering was moving away from the edge of the medal. Consider if no trial strike still existed, well the finished medal still shows signs of re-engraving of the lettering closer to the edge see link for close-ups.




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