SA Union: Union of South Africa Official Commemoration

SA Union: Union of South Africa Official CommemorationSA Union: Union of South Africa Official Commemoration
Form: Circular with riveted boss through which passes oval ring for an orange-blue-orange corded silk ribbon.
By: Sir Bertram MacKennal / Royal Mint, London
Date: 1910
Ref:  MYB: 338; Laidlaw: 0175;
36.5 mmSilver32.9 gm$510

Edge: Plain. Sometimes privately engraved with the recipient's name.

Obverse: Head of George V, left. Legend: “GEORGE V BRITT: OMN: REX ET IND: IMP:” (George V, King of all British and Emperor of India). The design and legend are the same as found on British coinage of the period.

Reverse: Mercury, the Roman god of prosperity and commerce, working on an anvil, forging a chain around linking together four plaques bearing the names of the provinces of the Union: “CAPE OF GOOD HOPE”, “NATAL”, “TRANSVAAL” and “ORANGE RIVER”. Caduceus at his feet. Legend: “TO COMMEMORATE THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA”. In the exergue: “1910”.

Notes: Presented inside an oblong fitted red case, rounded at the end which opens, lined on the inside with white silk and beige velvet. Crowned: "GvR" monogram in gilt on the outside of the lid.

The medal was awarded to persons who played a prominent part in the ceremonies connected with the Union, in particular members of parliament and certain offices and men of the HMS Balmoral Castle. This was a Union Castle liner specially commissioned as a man-of-war to convey HRH Duke of Connaught as the King's representative to South Africa for the celebrations. Many of the men who accepted this medal were Boer veterans who had fought against the British, and by this act signalled a spirit of reconciliation in the new Union of South Africa.

The medal imaged here has been privately engraved to: “C. H. HAGGAR. M.L.A. 1910.”. He was a trade union leader and a labour member in the Natal Assembly and subsequently one of the first labour MPs in the new South African parliament.