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Coronation Medal

Coronation Medal.  A medallic item issued on the occasion of a coronation, the ceremony investing a sovereign with a royal crown. While the naming of a new king customarily takes place at a time of crisis, the coronation ceremony was one of celebration. It often allowed ample time for a medal to be prepared along with the ceremonies. While sovereignties existed from medieval times, and ceremonies were held for most every king, it wasn't until 1546 in England that the first coronation medal was issued for the ceremony of Edward VI, crowned 21 February that year (the medal, cast and chased, was by an unknown artist).

The custom spread to other monarchies; notably Austria (1619), France (1654), and the German States. In Spanish countries the equivalent of the coronation medal was the proclamation medal, and much later, in democracies, the inaugural medal. In more recent times coronation medals have been issued in The Netherlands, Norway, Japan and Iraq.

For each of these new rulers, however, the medal must have been issued at the time of the event; it could not be issued later, as a historical medal perhaps mentioning the date of the coronation. The unstated purpose of these medals, obvious and dramatically suitable for medallic art, was to document the event for posterity.

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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