You can click on the medals to see the reverse.
This medal's obverse bears injured mine worker sitting on the ground being attended by kneeling miner wearing head lamp. Signed at upper right, B.NEBEL
The reverse bears mine safety lamp. Around top, · DEPARTMENT · OF · THE · INTERIOR · / · BVREAV OF · MINES ·; to left and right of lamp, SPRINGFIELD - ILLINOIS / U - S; at bottom, 1925 / · INTERNATIONAL · CONTEST ·
The edge is marked with MEDALLIC ART CO. N.Y.
Mine safety was a big topic in the 1920's and 30's. Both the U.S. Safety Council and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Mines organized conferences and sponsored competitions to improve the state of the art in mining safety. Organized by the Bureau of Mines, the First Aid and Mine Rescue Meeting ran from September 8 to September 13, 1925. Eighteen of 28 mining states of the U.S. and several countries sent participants who competed for one of two Congressional Medallions awarded for the top scoring teams in First Aid and Mine Rescue. Teams from 70 mines competed in total.
This little looped medal was probably given to all participants of all meetings (1923-1961), so it should not be too rare, but I have only ever seen it once since I started collecting. The design bears a strong similarity to the obverse of Nebel's much better known Society of Medalists medal, which he designed twenty years later.
The circular looped medal measures 32.9mm in diameter (36.8mm in height with loop) and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.
References: MACo 1923-026
This medal was chosen as the 32nd issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series.
The medal's obverse bears an American soldier giving water to a wounded comrade. In exergue, (circled BN) / ©. The reverse bears a mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion over avast plane of corpses. To left and right, WORLD UNITY - OR OBLIVION.
In his "Message from the Artist" Nebel wrote:
"Modern warfare has developed to such a degree that civilization may vanish from the earth unless there is to be an understanding among nations, and this medal was designed to help impress that thought which, I believe, is uppermost in our minds."
It is fascinating to see this medal in the context of its predecessor (For Conquer We Must). The prior medal is soul-stirring and up-lifting in its depiction of courageous soldiers at one of the iconic moments of war. Only half a year later, the war has been won, and soldiers are depicted wounded or dead. The price of victory and the question of "What now?" has arrived very prominently.
The medal measures 73mm in diameter. The Medallic Art Company of New York reportedly struck 839 medals in bronze and 60 (out of 700 authorized) in silver.
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