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1860 Prince of Wales Visit to Canada Medal in Silver. Dies by J.S. Wyon. Leroux-641, Breton-174, Eimer-1535, BHM-2669.

1860 Prince of Wales Visit to Canada Medal in Silver. Dies by J.S. Wyon. Leroux-641, Breton-174, Eimer-1535, BHM-2669.


48mm. 62.50 grams. The Prince of Wales’ visit to Canada in 1860 was an important event in Canadian history, as subsequent royal tours have been. Numerous medals were awarded to celebrate the visit, as described and enumerated in Scott Miller’s article, “Medallic Memorials of the Visit of the Prince of Wales to North America in 1860,” published in Canada’s Money: Coinage of the Americas Conference (1992). Most of the medals issued to commemorate the visit celebrate a particular aspect of the tour, including several that deal with the opening of Montreal’s Victoria Bridge. This is one of those medals.

Montreal’s Grand Trunk Railway ordered a small number of examples to celebrate the inauguration of the Victoria Bridge, which was part of the railway’s system. The design was executed by M.D. Wyatt and engraved by the famed medallist J.S. Wyon. Miller describes the circumstances under which the medals were distributed:

Despite the presence of the Prince and the usual complement of dignitaries, the laying of the last stone was not a very impressive affair. The visitors were taken by special train to Point St. Charles, the entrance at the Montreal side. After the Prince patted the bed of mortar, the final granite stone was lowered from the scaffold into place. Although the arrival of the Prince was met with great enthusiasm, the crowd was silent after the stone was laid, so that the Times correspondent likened it to the laying of a tombstone over the grave of 15 million pounds. The Prince then went by car to the middle of the bridge where he drove the final silver rivet. Afterward, the Prince was presented with a gold medal to commemorate the occasion, and his suite with similar ones, but in silver.

Besides its use as a commemorative by the Grand Trunk Railway Company, the Prince of Wales appears to have obtained a number of specimens for his personal use.

The obverse features a portrait of the Prince facing right with ALBERT EDWARD PRINCE OF WALES around. The other side shows the Prince of Wales’ feathers with scrolls above, left, and right that read WELCOME. Two stars flank the date 1860 below, with VISITED CANADA AND INAUGURATED THE VICTORIA BRIDGE. This example is attractively toned in blue, violet, and gold patina with just a touch of cabinet friction on the highest points of the plumage and curls. There are a few ticks on the bust and moderate hairlines in the fields, along with a single rim bump above the T in INAUGURATED. The lower edge has BRE 174 6/53 inscribed in black ink. The overall appeal and general condition of this rare silver medal are excellent.

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