Historic Offering of Governor General Medals

Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. is excited to be able to offer two dozen Governor General medals representing thirteen different individuals who have served this prestigious office.  This historic assemblage features beautiful and rare examples produced by the Wyon family for Lord Dufferin, Lorne, Lansdowne, Stanley, Aberdeen, and Minto, in gold, silver, and bronze, presented in our Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Fall Sale. Named and presented medals are seldom offered for sale making this a tremendous opportunity for collectors to acquire a significant piece of Canadian history.

The Governor General, currently the reigning British monarch’s representative in Canada, is actually, along with the Crown, the oldest continuous institution in Canada, playing a genuine role in shaping our nation.  The first person in the role after confederation was The Viscount Monck, who had role while we were still the Province of Canada.

Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, or Lord Dufferin, was a highly successful diplomat and the third Governor General of Canada.  Lord Dufferin served as Governor General from 1872 to 1878 and of his many accomplishments in office, few were more inspired than the institution of a Governor General’s award for excellence in Academics and Sport. These medals were presented annually to recipients deemed worthy and it is a tradition that continues to this day.

Highlights include a gold Dufferin awarded to the Quebec Curling Club 1877.  Only 18 medals were issued in gold and only four are known to still exist. There is also a silver and bronze of the 1873 version, which are quite rare. The bronze was given to W. W. Smith of the Ontario Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in 1874, while the silver is a pristine, toned example in its original case presented to a student of Montreal High School in 1875 for excellence in Mathematics.

Two more very rare pieces to watch are a gold medal from the Marquess of Lansdowne, 1883-1888, and an Earl of Minto, 1898-1904, gold with 27 and 29 issued, respectively.

Many of the examples offered in this sale are in remarkable condition, some with original cases, making this a truly important event.


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