We may all be a little tired of gold Nobel Prize medals crossing the auction block by now, but these are just such important (and
gorgeous) medals that I can't resist. Heritage Auctions is offering this example. -Editor
Francis Peyton Rous: Nobel Prize Medal, Diploma, and Related Materials. In 1966 Peyton Rous won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his
pioneering work that resulted in one of most seminal discoveries in medical research in the twentieth century, the relationship of viruses
to cancer. Dr. Rous shared this honor equally with Charles Brenton Huggins, a specialist in prostate cancer who showed that hormone therapy
could be used to control the spread of certain cancers.
The medal, designed by Swedish artist Erik Lindberg, measures 6.5 cm in diameter (approximately 2.5") and weighs 204.0 grams.
Struck in 23 carat gold, the obverse features a side portrait of Alfred Nobel with the dates of his birth and death in Roman numerals. The
reverse, the design of which is unique to the medal for Physiology or Medicine, "represents the Genius of Medicine holding an open
book in her lap, collecting the water pouring out from a rock in order to quench a sick girl's thirst." (www.nobelprize.org,
accessed July 27, 2015)
An inscription appears above the figures, reading: "INVENTAS VITAM JUVAT EXCOLUISSE PER ARTES." Taken from the sixth song,
verse 663, of Virgil's Aeneid, it is translated as, "inventions enhance life which is beautified through art." The lower
section of the medal bears a second inscription, "REG. UNIVERSITAS MED. CHIR. CAROL," the Karolinska Institutet. The Nobel
Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet, one of the most esteemed medical universities in Europe, is responsible for choosing the laureates
for the award for Physiology or Medicine.
Dr. Rous' name is engraved in a plate below the figures along with the year of the prize, 1966, presented in Roman numerals:
"Peyton Rous / MCMLXVI." The medal is housed in an elegant, yet simple, maroon leather case with "P. Rous" giltstamped
on the lid, surrounded by a decorative gilt border featuring four gilt fleur-de-lis in the corners. When open, the inside lips of both the
top and bottom feature a giltstamped border. The medal rests securely in a fitted box of yellow velvet with satin lined top.
Accompanying the Nobel medal is the second piece of the prize, the Nobel diploma. Comprised of two printed pages, measuring 9.5" x
14" (when closed), written entirely in Swedish, Stockholm, December 10, 1966. The diploma features a gold embossed facsimile of the
obverse of the medal on the first page, below which appears the quote (translated from Swedish), "To those who have conferred the
greatest benefit on mankind," taken from Alfred Nobel's will.
The name "Peyton Rous" appears in gilt on the second page directly above the explanation why he has been selected to receive
such a prestigious award. The diploma bears three signatures at the end, presumably members of the Nobel Foundation. Mounted in a red
leather portfolio, Dr. Rous' initials appear on the front cover in gilt, surrounded by a decorative gilt border, which is also found on
the rear cover. The pages of the diploma are very lightly toned around the edges. The entire diploma is housed in an olive green cloth hard
case lined in brown suede with "P R" giltstamped on the front.
To read the complete lot description, see:
Peyton Rous: Nobel Prize Medal, Diploma, and Related Materials
Wayne Homren, Editor
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