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Medal

A small piece of metal, usually circular, struck or cast to give relief decoration on one or both sides. Medals can be made of bronze, silver, lead or gold and are comparable to coins in size, material, and decoration, but were not intended for use as currency. Portrait images typically decorate the front, whereas the back, if ornamented, usually displays an emblem, symbolic motif, narrative scene, and/or inscription that refers to the life or personality of the person on the front.

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Queen Mary I
after Jacopo da Trezzo
19th century, based on a work of circa 1555
NPG 446(1)

Queen Elizabeth I
by Steven van Herwijck
1565
NPG 4294

Edward Forbes
by Leonard Charles Wyon, after a bust by John Graham Lough
1856-1891, based on a work of 1856
NPG 1609

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