silver medal 1880 Melbourne Exhibition

Medals of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition | Historical Collection

Brief Overview of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition

The 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition was a grand event held in Melbourne, Australia, from October 1, 1880, to April 30, 1881. It was the first official World’s Fair to be held in the Southern Hemisphere and showcased the latest advancements in industry, technology, and culture from around the world. The exhibition took place in the newly constructed Royal Exhibition Building, a magnificent structure that still stands today as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Over a million visitors from across the globe attended, marveling at the diverse exhibits that highlighted innovation and progress during a period of rapid industrialization.

Silver Medal Awarded to Edward H. Williams

The silver prize medal of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition was awarded to Edward H. Williams for his exceptional services. This prestigious award recognized Williams’ significant contributions and achievements during the exhibition, highlighting his dedication and excellence in his field.

Edward H. Williams’ Achievements
Edward H. Williams was a distinguished engineer and philanthropist. He served as a U.S. commissioner to both the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879 and the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880, playing a crucial role in facilitating international cooperation and showcasing American advancements. His contributions extended beyond these exhibitions; he was a respected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and was decorated as a Knight of the Order of the Polar Star. In 1897, Williams was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society, further highlighting his influence and recognition in the scientific community. Williams was born on June 1, 1824, in Woodstock, Vermont to Vermont Secretary of State Norman Williams and Mary Ann Wentworth (Brown) Williams.

Physical Description
The silver medal of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition features intricate designs and is a beautiful representation of the era’s craftsmanship.

Obverse Description:
A bust of Queen Victoria facing left, wearing a crown and veil. Around the bust, the inscription reads, “MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION.”

Reverse Description:
The reverse side showcases a Victor’s wreath of wattle and oak encircling the Southern Cross. The Latin motto “ARTIBUS DIGNUS HONOR INSIGNIS” (To the deserving arts, distinguished honor) is inscribed within the wreath. Below the wreath, the inscription reads, “MELBOURNE MINT MDCCCLXXX STOKES AND MARTIN SC.”

Edge Description:
The edge of the medal is inscribed with “EDWARD H. WILLIAMS FOR SERVICES.”

The silver medal awarded to Edward H. Williams is a prestigious honor, reflecting his valuable contributions and the recognition he received during the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. Williams’ life and career were marked by significant achievements and honors, making this medal a testament to his lasting impact. It serves as a symbol of excellence and a reminder of the rich history and achievements of that era.

This medal is not only a beautiful artifact but also a tangible connection to the historical achievements celebrated at the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition.

The medals were minted by the Royal Mint in gold, silver and bronze, in 1-1/2″, 2″ and 3″ in diameter respectively.