Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


? : USA, 1892, Bronze, 49 mm
Obv: Half length bust of Columbus wearing soft cap, holding unrolled chart in hands, all of which is enclosed in a band of oak leaves    CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS BORN 1456 * DIED 1506
Rev: The personifications of Chicago, standing and pointing to a scene of the Exposition buildings in the background, and America, seated holding shield of the United States; in the background a rising sun and sea with ships.  Above is an eagle holding a riband on which is inscribed:  E. PLURIBUS UNUM    Around: SOUVENIR WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION, CHICAGO, U.S.A. 1892-1893.
Exergue: 1492-1892 IV. CENTENNIAL
Signed: not signed
Ref: Eglit 34/55; Cleveland 33; Storer 104;  Weiss BW570

The Columbian Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the New World. It was know at the time as the "Great White City" because of the white classic structures present. It was built on a marshy plain and filled-in lake shore in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. Artificial lagoons were created around the main buildings. These buildings were built in uniformity in classical architectural style. Some say that impact of this fair far exceeded all of the previous World's Fairs in glamour, interest and historical importance. This statement is supported by the fact that it had almost three times the attendance of the 1876 World's Fair held in Philadelphia, and had a only slightly smaller attendance than that of the Paris Exposition in 1889, which was the largest of the period. Among the events of the Exposition was Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, in which Sitting Bull was a featured attraction. The Exhibition included settlements of Javanese, South sea Islanders, Turk, Algerians, Egyptians, Bedouins and American Indians. There was a wide variety of entertainment from many diverse parts of the world, and because it celebrated the discovery of America, the Columbian Exposition inspired similar celebrations in many parts of the Western world. (Eglit)
Many types of medals were issued to commemorate the Exhibition, including prize award medals, official medals (struck in silver and presented to officials), and souvenir medals, such as this one. These particular medals were struck in bronze, white metal, and aluminum.

LINK to Columbian Exposition (from xroads.virginia.edu)

LINK to World's Columbian Exposition Tokens and Medals (from columbianexpo.com)