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Key.  A charm shaped like a small tubular key usually indicating membership in a scholarly, fraternal or scientific organization. The flat disk (finger hold) is usually engraved or struck with the organization's name or initials, as a Phi Betta Kappa Key. The key is symbolic of possession of knowledge, authority or official position. Keys were first made by jewelry manufacturers, originally in two pieces (a tiny tubular key affixed to the edge of the flat disk); now they are more likely to be diestruck in one piece as a medallic item. A recent example is the Philadelphia Science Council Key. They are sometimes worn like a fob, or bob, as they almost always have a loop for such attachment.

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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