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Marriage Medal

Marriage Medal.  A medallic item issued on the occasion of a marriage or on the anniversary of a marriage. The most obvious design, of course, is portraits of the wedded couple. In addition to medals issued at the time of a wedding ceremony, anniversary medals have been issued on significant anniversaries. Most medallic companies offered stock medals for engagement, marriage and wedding anniversary themes. These dies could, of course, be engraved, or struck pieces inscribed to customize for any couple or occasion.

Royal families have issued marriage medals for centuries. The custom continues to he present, as exemplified by marriage medals issued for royal families in England, Bulgaria, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands.

Wedding anniversary medals are issued for the more important anniversaries, particularly 25th, 50th, 60th, and infrequently for the 40th or 75th. These are often instigated and sponsored by the children more so than anyone else. A wide range of marriage and wedding anniversary medals exist, from elaborately executed to stock designs. Royalty, wealthy and famous families have issued these medals, but so also have common folk. Generally only a sufficient quantity of marriage medals are struck to dispense to the relatives and friends who attend the wedding or anniversary celebration.

The United States Mint struck two marriage medals. One in 1821 for Robert and Louisa Gilmore (50th anniversary, Julian PE-13) and one in 1856 for Samuel and Mary Bell (25th anniversary, PE-5). Julian reports Mint Director James Ross Snowden traded restrikes of the Gilmore medal for coins he wanted in the mint collection. Otherwise marriage medals are seldom reissued or restruck.

In Germany oval wedding anniversary medals with loop for suspension, heavily enameled and jewel encrusted were called gnadenmadillen. These were popular among princes in the Holy Roman Empire.


O37   {1977} Julian.

NE40 {1984} Junge p 118.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


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