Oskar Barnack - Leica Award Medal1936
Bronze with tan patina

The medal's obverse bears bust of Oskar Barnack facing three quarters right. Around bottom, OSKAR BARNACK - LEICA INVENTOR; at top right, 1879 / 1936; signed under truncation, (J / J. monogram)

The medal's reverse bears laurels and palm frond flanking LEICA / EXHIBIT / AWARD / OF / MERIT; inscribed, 19 / GAIL GORDON / PITTSBURGH / 38

The edge is marked with MEDALLIC ART CO. N.Y. BRONZE

This medal celebrates the life of Oskar Barnack (1879-1936), the inventor of 35mm photography. Barnack was an avid hobby photographer who suffered from asthma. Due to his poor health he had trouble carrying the heavy and bulky camera equipment around with him, so he invented a more portable camera. The Leica brand was born in 1925 when his employer (Ernst Leitz) took a gamble and produced 1,000 cameras for sale to the public. They chose "Leica" as the brand name. The name was derived from Leitz camera.

On the hundredth anniversary of Barnack's birth, World Press Photo instituted the Oskar Barnack Award; this award is now administered by Leica Camera.

The medal measures 76mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: MACo 1936-010