Print

Cape Colony: Kimberley International Exhibition Award

Cape Colony: Kimberley International Exhibition AwardCape Colony: Kimberley International Exhibition Award
Cape Colony: Kimberley International Exhibition AwardCape Colony: Kimberley International Exhibition Award
Cape Colony: Kimberley International Exhibition AwardCape Colony: Kimberley International Exhibition Award
Form: Circular
By: The Mint Birmingham Ltd.
Date: 1892
Ref:  Laidlaw: 0251;
Variations:
SizeMetalMassValue
44 mmSilver46 gm$225
44.8 mmBronze39.5 gm$100
44.8 mmGilded Bronze40,0 gm$110

Edge: Plain.

Obverse: Diamond miner in shirt sleeves and hat, standing front with right foot resting on a shovel held upright in his right hand. Beside him, a wheelbarrow, sieve and pick. Behind the pulley head-works on the rim of the Kimberley Hole. At the bottom on the truncation of the design: “MINT BHAM LD”. On a raised border edged with an alternating pattern of diamonds and dots, legend above: “SOUTH AFRICAN & INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION” and below between stops: “KIMBERLEY 1892”

Reverse: At the top in an arc: “AWARDED TO” and at the bottom the coat of arms of Kimberley with motto: “SPERO MELIORA”, the space between for the engraving of the recipient’s details. Different species of floral branches to the left and right.

Silver medal engraved: "Mrs. J.T. Warren
Gilded medal engraved: "THE COPAL VARNISH Co. Ltd. / for excellence of / VARNISH EXHIBITS."

Notes: The exhibition was opened on 8th September 1892 by Sir Henry Loch, Governor of the Cape Colony and High Commissioner for South Africa. It was held in the Public Gardens of Kimberley, a town located in the northern part of the Cape Colony in the region known as Griqualand West.

Diamonds were discovered there in the middle of the 19th century, and the town grew and prospered. However, Kimberley was not a suitable location for an international exhibition. The region is isolated, not noted for any natural beauty, and Kimberley is eight hundred miles from Cape Town which even today is a full day’s car journey away. The choice was made by Cecil John Rhodes, a diamond magnate and promoter of the Exhibition. Probably he was motivated by his imperial ambition for Britain and his drive to expand the Empire and colonise territories to the north. Also the border with the Boer Republic of the Orange Free State was only a few miles away.

While being a grand social occasion for the Cape Colony, the Exhibition was a financial flop, and Cecil Rhodes was left to pay off the debit.

The original name for Kimberley was New Rush. It was renamed Kimberley in honour of John Wodehouse, created 1st Earl of Kimberley in 1866. Lord Kimberley held the position Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1870 to 1874 and again during the period 1880-82 when the Exhibition was in its planning stages. The blue diamond-bearing magma ore, Kimberlite, also gets its name from Lord Kimberley.

The old regional capital, Griquatown, is a hundred miles to the east of Kimberley. It seems probable that the fantasy Griquatown pattern coinage, struck in Berlin and dated 1890, was on display at the Exhibition to promote German engineering.