Great Britain: Great Exhibition: Prince Albert / Crystal Palace

Great Britain: Great Exhibition: Prince Albert / Crystal PalaceGreat Britain: Great Exhibition: Prince Albert / Crystal Palace
Form: Circular
By: J. Davis, Birmingham
Date: 1851
Ref:  BHM: 2436 (similar); Laidlaw: 0322;
34.5 mmWhite Metal11.3 gm$20

Edge: Plain.

Obverse: Bare head of Prince Albert, right. Legend: HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE ALBERT." Signed: "J. DAVIS BIRM." at the foot.

Reverse: View of the exhibition building. Legend above: "THE EXHIBITION OF THE INDUSTRY OF ALL NATIONS / LONDON 1851". In the large exergue: "ORIGINATED BY H.R.H. PRINCE ALBERT. / (line) / LENGTH 1848 FT., BREADTH 408 FT., / HEIGHT 66 FT., OCCUPIES 18 ACRES, / GLASS SURFACE 9000 000 FT. / DESIGNED BY / JOS. PAXTON ESQ: F.L.S."

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.