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Colony of Natal: Coronation of King Edward VII: Zulu Chiefs

Colony of Natal: Coronation of King Edward VII: Zulu ChiefsColony of Natal: Coronation of King Edward VII: Zulu Chiefs
Colony of Natal: Coronation of King Edward VII: Zulu ChiefsColony of Natal: Coronation of King Edward VII: Zulu Chiefs
Colony of Natal: Coronation of King Edward VII: Zulu ChiefsColony of Natal: Coronation of King Edward VII: Zulu Chiefs
Form: Circular with claw attachment for a small ring linked to a second 10mm ring for a short dark blue corded ribbon with brooch bar at the top
By: Joseph & Sons of Port Elizabeth (?obverse) / Joseph Moore of Birmingham (reverse)
Date: 1902
Ref:  AM2: 93; MYB: 305A; Laidlaw: 0008b;
Variations:
SizeMetalMassValue
51.4 mmSilver47.8 gm$1,300 (Named)
51.4 mmLightly Gilded Silver48.7 gm$1,200 (No Name)
51.5 mmLightly Gilded Silver47.7 gm$1,100 (No Name)

Edge: Plain. Sometimes engraved with the name of the recipient Zulu Chief.

Obverse: Within a toothed border round the rim, crowned uniformed bust of King Edward VII, right. Signed: “J&S” on the truncation. Legend: “TO COMMEMORATE THE CORONATION OF KING EDWARD VII”.

Reverse: Ornate border round the rim. The British Royal coat of arms with motto: “DIEU ET MON DROIT” on an ornate ribbon below. Below that, from the Natal coat of arms, a pair of wildebeests galloping to the right. Legend on a ribbon above: “EDWARDUS DEI GRATIA BRITANNIAR. REX F.D.” and below: “COLONY OF NATAL JUNE 26TH. 1902”

Notes: These medals were issued to Natal Zulu Chiefs in appreciation for their loyalty during the Boer War. Had the Zulus rebelled, as they did in 1906, and joined forces with the invading Boers, the outcome of the war could have been very different.

Some bear the name of the individual recipient privately engraved in capital letters on the edge. The first illustrated example is named to: “CHIEF NGOBIZOMBE (Gobizembe)”. A photograph exists of five Zulu Chiefs, each wearing one of these medals. The original small blue ribbon is often replaced by a longer ribbon so that the medal can be worn suspended round the neck.

The design of this medal is almost identical to 29 mm medal issued to schoolchildren (Laidlaw 0008a). The most apparent difference, apart from its size, is the format of the date on the reverse.

The reverse design (with different legend) appears on the obverse of the earlier Pietermaritzburg Agricultural Society medal (Laidlaw 0519) which is signed: "J MOORE". It was also used without legends on the obverse of award medals from the Durban & Coast Society of Agriculture & Industry (Laidlaw 0633).

A number of unnamed medals in mint condition were discovered in the Provincial Administration buildings in Pietermaritzburg in the 1980s leading to the supposition that some Chiefs did not receive their intended medal or a surplus had been made. The second illustrated example is one of these.

The third example is unnamed but has been used. The gilding is starting to wear off, and is completely gone in the first example.