Picture courtesy of City Coins
City of London Tribute medal to City Imperial Volunteers (CIV)
As presented to William Waldorf Astor, Late 1st Viscount Astor.
Ref: Hern 178; Laidlaw 0047
A large, cased, bronze presentation medal commemorating the Boer War service of the City Imperial Volunteers, 1899-1901.
DIAMETER: 76,50 mm, 6.00 mm thick.
WEIGHT: 224.7 grams.
EDGE: engraved in square capitals: “Wm. Waldorf Astor”.
OBVERSE: A seated female figure wearing a mural crown and in medieval costume (presumably representing the City of London), holding in her left hand an upright sword. Facing her is a standing soldier of the City Imperial Volunteers. The figures are flanked by two sets of three robed females facing inwards, blowing archaic trumpets from which hang banners bearing the Arms of the City of London. In the far distance, a troop of marching soldiers are visible.
REVERSE: A hill surrounded by trees and surmounted by a flagstaff. Behind the hill the sun rises while in the foreground there are two field guns.
ARTIST: Geo. J. Frampton (Later Sir George James Frampton)
Reportedly 550 medals were struck in bronze and a few in silver. Laidlaw’s online catalogue describes the obverse and reverse of the medal in even greater detail as well as recording the full inscription details both on and inside the lid of the black presentation box. The presentation box which accompanies this medal is a little scuffed. The spine has also been repaired and now requires a little further gluing.
William Waldorf Astor to whom this medal was presented was a scion of the very wealthy Astor family of New York City. Following his father’s death, he inherited a personal fortune which made him the richest man in America. The following year he moved to London becoming a British subject in 1899. He was made a peer as Baron Astor in 1916 and as Viscount Astor in 1917 in consequence of his significant contributions to war charities in particular. Having initiated the building of the Waldorf Hotel in New York in 1890 he financed the building of the new Waldorf Hotel in London’s West End.
George James Frampton, the artist who was responsible for the design of this special C.I.V. commemorative medal, was born in London in 1860. He was one of the leading and most respected sculptors of his generation. Today he is remembered for his many sculptures and statues which are spread throughout the United Kingdom. Visitors to London in particular will be well acquainted with his statue of Peter Pan, the bronze lions at the British Museum and the memorial to Edith Cavell, the British nurse who was executed by the Germans in 1915, which stands outside the National Portrait Gallery.