White metal commemorative medal from the Melbourne International Exhibition held at the Exhibition Buildings, Melbourne, between 1 October 1880 and 30 April 1881.

Small medallions such as this one were struck for sale to visitors to the exhibition. It features a view of the Exhibition Building as seen from the the south-east and, on the reverse, the entwined initials 'MIE', representing the Melbourne International Exhibition. It has been holed on the top margin, enabling it to be worn on a chain as a fob.

The Melbourne International Exhibition ran from 1 October 1880 to 30 April 1881. The Exhibition Building that still stands was constructed for the occasion, designed by Joseph Reed and built by David Mitchell. Over 1.3 million people visited the exhibition at a time when Melbourne's population was only around 282,000.

Physical Description

A medal struck in white metal (20 mm diameter), with a hole punched through the upper margin. It features a view of the Exhibition Building from the south east, with the below text 'MELBOURNE/ 1880'. The reverse features the initials MIE entwined into a monograph; an abbreviation of Melbourne International Exhibition.

Obverse Description

A view of the Exhibition Building as seen from the the south-east; MELBOURNE 1880.

Reverse Description

At the centre, MIE [entwined]

Edge Description



This medal is a variation on a common design produced during the period of the 1880-81 Melbourne International Exhibition, depicting the Exhibition Buildings, that could be purchased by visitors to Melbourne as a souvenir. Small, and in this instance holed to enable it to be worn, it would have been available to both local and international visitors to Melbourne, or posted overseas as a token or a visitor's time at the Exhibition.

While there are numerous examples of similar medals in Museum Victoria's collections, this particular design is not yet represented, and thus demonstrates the variety of commercially produced tokens available during 1880-81.

More Information