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Award Medal

Award Medal.  A medallic item bestowed upon a recipient in a contest, race, game or other sporting event, or for the participation in an individual or group effort in some notable activity. Award medals sometimes have the word “award” on the medal and is so common that the word is often omitted in the name of the medal. Award medals differ from anniversary medals, commemorative and historical, and from purely art medals.

There are sometimes many contestants or participants which vie for such award.

In other instances the award is made without the recipient actually entering into a "contest" or competing with others, as in the case of some scholarly awards; where there is only one recipient and no other participants, this is more generally known as a recognition; current custom now calls this a "lifetime award" or "lifetime achievement award." Sometimes award medals have a rank of several levels, see a list of these under prize medal.

Medals of award were widely bestowed at fairs and expositions, often in large

quantities and these have become popular collectors' items. Over 23,000 official medals were awarded at the Columbian Exposition alone.  See exposition medal. See also premium, medal award program, congressional medal, medallic art.


excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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