Great Britain: Great Exhibition: Queen Victoria & Prince Albert / Crystal Palace

Great Britain: Great Exhibition: Queen Victoria & Prince Albert / Crystal PalaceGreat Britain: Great Exhibition: Queen Victoria & Prince Albert / Crystal Palace
Form: Circular
By: Allen & Moore, Birmingham
Date: 1851
Ref:  BHM: 2419; Eimer: 1462; Laidlaw: 0485;
51.3 mmWhite Metal37.8 gm$45

Edge: Plain.

Obverse: Conjoined busts of the King and Queen, left, she diademed. Legend: "QUEEN VICTORIA & (left) PR: ALBERT (right). On a raised band around, a linked chain and outside that a wreath of laurel (left) and oak (right). At the top, crown and sceptre on a cushion. At the bottom, a caduceus, rose, thistle, shamrock and Irish harp.

Reverse: View of the exhibition building. Above: “THE INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION (in an arc) / LONDON, 1851.”. The exergue occupies almost half of the lower portion. On the exergue line: “ALLEN & MOORE (left) BIRMM. (left)”. In the exergue: “PROPOSED BY H.R.H. PRINCE ALBERT, / DESIGNED BY JOSEPH PAXTON ESQ. F.L.S., / ERECTED BY FOX, HENDERSON & CO.. / LENGTH 1848 FEET, WIDTH 456 FEET, / HEIGHT OF PRINCIPAL ROOF 66 FEET, / HEIGHT OF TRANSEPT 108 FEET, / GLAZED SURFACE 900,000 SUP FEET, / OCCUPIES 18 ACRES / OF GROUND, / ESTIMATED VALUE £150,000. (in an arc)”.

Notes: The Great Exhibition of 1851 was held inside an enormous structure of iron and glass known as the Crystal Palace specially built for the event in Hyde Park, London. The exhibition ran for five months, from May to October 1851, during which six million visitors attended the gigantic trade show where the latest technology and displays of artefacts from around the world were on display.

The idea of the Great Exhibition originated with Henry Cole, an artist and inventor. He obtained the support of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, and the two of them organised the event which, because of its huge success, became the forerunner of many such exhibitions in the second half of the 19th century.

South Africa was represented by sixty exhibitors from the colonies of the Cape and Natal. Agricultural products, fruit, wood, minerals, animal skins, elephant tusks, ostrich plumes and eggs, and sea elephant oil were on display. There were also exhibits of native culture.