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Polar Medal: CM.1142-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


London (Mint)
George V (1910-36) (Ruler)
United Kingdom (State)
With the title of GEORGIUS V BRITT: OMN: REX ET IND IMP: (Ruler)


British medals for polar exploration were first issued in 1857, though their issue was not confined to British explorers, and was also made to civilians. This design was first issued in 1904.
The bar for 1910-1913 on this medal indicates that the recipient, whose name is not known, was one of the landing party in the fatal expedition of Captain Scott to the South Pole. Only four such medals were issued in bronze. Furthermore, the second bar was awarded to members of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition under Sir Ernest Shackleton. Sources suggest that only two of the men on that voyage held a bronze medal for a previous expedition, but which of them this medal belonged to, if it has not been tampered with or as has been suggested is only a proof issue, is unknown.
Lester Watson purchased the medal from the London dealer Baldwin in 1927.


History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, bt Baldwin 1927

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 33.5 mm
Weight: 33.45 g

Place(s) associated

  • London

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester


1913 - 1916

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of George facing left

  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Explorers arrayed in foreground with icebound ship behind

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1142-2009
Primary reference Number: 141236
Watson Catalogue: 27
Ordering: M-0025
Previous object number: LW.0025
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Saturday 22 January 2022 Last processed: Sunday 23 January 2022

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Polar Medal" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-08-12 20:03:29

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{{cite web|url= |title=Polar Medal |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-08-12 20:03:29|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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