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Category Archives: King Edward VII

City of London’s Medal Of The Tower Bridge Opening

City of London’s Medal Of The Tower Bridge Opening

“Now we are on the bridge.”

The Sign of Four (SIGN)

Tower Bridge Opening Medal OBVTower Bridge Opening Medal REV

London’s Tower Bridge has featured prominently in many of the film and television adaptions of various Sherlock Holmes stories.  Yet, it was never specifically mentioned by name in any of the 60 stories that make up the Canon.

From 1832 to 1902, the Corporation of the City of London issued a series of thirty medals commemorating important events relating to the central area of London. Many of these high relief bronze pieces represent the finest work of the members of the Wyon dynasty of engravers and other British and European medalists of the period.

In 1894, they commissioned Frank Bowcher to design the above 77mm bronze medal to commemorate the opening of the Tower Bridge. The obverse features striking portraits of the Princess of Wales, Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII. The reverse features the new Tower Bridge with its drawbridges up to allow a ship to pass. With mintages of generally less than 500 pieces, this medal series is not familiar to many collectors.

Tower Bridge Opening Medal CASE

 

Most of the medals in the series were issued in a custom leather box with the covers gold-stamped; some have explanatory text printed on the silk interior. According to noted medals dealer, Paul J. Bosco, “you haven’t lived (in a numismatic sense) until you’ve seen a Corporation of London box.” Unfortunately, the heaviness of the medals, and the ordinary ravages of time (that box above is over 120 years old, after all) have conspired against the preservation of these boxes, so that they add $50-100 or more to the value of the medal.

Below, we have a clip of the start of the final fight scene between Holmes and Blackwood atop the Tower Bridge, then under construction, in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes.

British Campaign Medals of the Second Boer War

British Campaign Medals of the Second Boer War

“…was the latter end of June, 1902, shortly after the conclusion of the South African War.” – The Adventure of the Three Garridebs (3GAR) In the spring and early summer of 1900, the Literary Agent, Arthur Conan Doyle was volunteering at a field hospital in South Africa during the Second Boer War. Serving as a volunteer, Doyle… Continue Reading

The Punitentiary: The Three Garridebs

The Punitentiary: The Three Garridebs

“I remember the date very well, for it was in the same month that Holmes refused a knighthood for services which may perhaps some day be described.” – The Adventure of the Three Garridebs (3GAR) Holmes, I can’t believe that you would refuse a knighthood. Few have done more than you in serving royalty and persons of high… Continue Reading