1909 Award Medal Expo

Medals of 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was a world’s fair held in Seattle that marked a period of prosperity and potential. It was a showcase of cultural diversity, technological advancement, and economic promise in the wake of the Klondike Gold Rush. The medals from this exposition are not just collector’s items; they are historical emblems that reflect the themes of discovery and American ingenuity.

The Design of the Award Medals

The obverse of the Award medal from the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition presents a rich allegorical scene full of symbolism and artistry. At the center stands a classical female figure, likely representing the personification of the exposition itself or perhaps Columbia, a historical figure symbolizing America. She is adorned in flowing drapery and extends her arms outwards, suggesting a welcoming gesture or the act of presentation.

To her right, there is a male figure representative of an explorer or prospector, paying homage to the pioneering spirit of the Yukon and Alaska regions during the gold rush. He holds a pickaxe, a tool emblematic of mining and exploration. To her left is a second male figure, possibly indicative of commerce or agriculture, holding what appears to be a cornucopia, a symbol of abundance and prosperity.

In the foreground, a seated Native American figure is depicted, which could represent the indigenous heritage of the Pacific Northwest. The backdrop features an expansive landscape, hinting at the vastness of the territories involved in the exposition.

Above the figures, the inscription “ALASKA-YUKON-PACIFIC EXPOSITION” arches, with the dates “1909 – 1905” below, likely referring to the span between the initial planning stages and the exposition’s opening. At the bottom, “SEATTLE,” the host city, anchors the composition.

The medals for this 1909 Exposition is exactly the same size and design medal for all other award medals, it is just inscribed either GRAND PRIZE, GOLD, SILVER or BRONZE MEDAL on a plate of the reverse of the medal. There was an Honorable Mention category but not sure there was a medal for that. Haven’t been able to find a total medal count but this from the California Report: “To win gold medals or higher on half the entries is considered a remarkable record, and yet out of the total of 800 at Seattle, 90 were grand prizes, an award only made in case of extraordinary excellence, 414 were gold medals, 155 silver medals, 108 bronze medals and 33 honorable mentions.”

Reportedly the medals could have been struck in actual Gold but only at the winner’s expense. Most were bronze and gold plated or sliver plated or left bronze. The artistry of the medal reflects the ambitions of the era and the spirit of progress that characterized the early 20th century in the United States.

Examples of Gold, Silver and Bronze Award Medals

award gold medals 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition

Gold Award Medal 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition

 Approximately 3 in. (76 mm) diameter. This is a gorgeous medal with a seated allegorical female figure with an olive branch in one hand and a plaque of Washington in the other. She is flanked by two men that appear to be miners or prospectors or pioneers as well as a Native American in a canoe. In the background is a steamer type of ship and a rising sun. Near the edge is the text: Alaskan Yukon Pacific Exposition 1909 Seattle 1909. Just below and to the left of one of the miner’s feet is F. Ziegler.

gold award medal from the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo

Gold Award Medal 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition

 The reverse side has an ornate floral wreath with an inscription plaque. At the 6:00 position is: The Gorham Co. GOLD MEDAL is label on the plate.

silver award medal 1909 Seattle expo

Silver Award Medal 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition

This silver award medal is made in bronze. Were there silver plated or even solid silver medals. Possible, if medal winner wanted to pay of it.

silver award medal 1909 Seattle expo

Silver Award Medal 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition

 Reverse of the silver award medal. Made in bronze but plate labelled SILVER MEDAL.

1909 Bronze Exposition Medal

Bronze Award Medal 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition

 Reverse of the bronze award medal. This medal was unawarded. Again, the design of the medal is the same as the silver and the gold medals.

Official medal  of the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition

Official Medal of the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo- silver medal, HK-353, AYPE

 This is the Official medal made in silver. The same medal was also made in bronze.

Reverse of the official medal in sliver of the 1909 Seattle AYPE expo.

Official Medal of the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo- silver medal, HK-353, AYPE

 Reverse side of the Official medal in sliver. Around rim is THE SEAL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE.