A gold medal awarded to a distinguished geographer 149 years ago has sold for nearly £40,000 at auction.
The Royal Geographical Society Patron’s Medal was awarded to Scottish geographer and cartographer Alexander Keith Johnston in 1871 for “distinguished services in the promotion of physical geography”.
The Victorian-era medallion, weighing 2oz and measuring 54mm in diameter, sold online at London-based auctioneer Dix Noonan Webb on Wednesday for £37,200.
The medal, purchased by a Japanese collector and sold in an auction of coins, tokens and historical medals, was only expected to fetch between £10,000 and £12,000.
Designed by W. Wyon, the medal features a coronet head of Queen Victoria and on the other side Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, holding a wreath and map.
Johnston, born in Penicuik, Midlothian, was renowned for his painstakingly accurate map production and in 1849 was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He died in 1871, aged 66.
Christopher Webb, head of the coin department at Dix Noonan Webb and auctioneer for the online sale, said: “The wonderful gold Patron’s Medal was bought by a Japanese collector after much interest.
“It was a beautiful example and we rarely see items like this come to the market.
“Anything with travel links, such as the Royal Geographical Society, always attracts a lot of attention.”