Mosaics from the heritage of ELTE – March 2024

Object of the month – Theodor von Sickel commemorative medal

In the 245-piece numismatic collection of the ELTE University Library and Archives – University History Collection, we keep many commemorative medals and plaques. Mainly objects made in the 20th century were collected, but we also have 18 commemorative medals from the 1800s.

Based on their nature and provenance research, these could be gifts from partner institutions’ and important people's anniversaries or other events. For example, the historian Sándor Szilágyi (1827–1899), the former director of the University Library, received some medals as a gift, and after his death he left them to our institution in his will. Among these, we chose the decorative Theodor von Sickel commemorative medal as the object of the month.

The bronze commemorative medal was made in Vienna in 1887 and was designed by the Austrian Anton Scharff (1845–1903). The medal image on the obverse depicts a bust of a man with a beard and mustache facing right, as well as a coat of arms on the lower right side. On the left side of the image, the master mark is visible, the rim is decorated with a string of pearl motif. Inscription: „THEODORO EQITI AB SICKEL”; in the inner circle: „PROF. P. XXX ANNOS VINDOBONENSI”.

The reverse of the medal depicts a seated female figure holding a tablet and writing implements, surrounded by three young boys holding instruments symbolizing the sciences. In the background, the facade of the main building of the University of Vienna, handed over in 1884, can be seen. The rim is decorated with a string of pearl motif. Circumscription in Latin: „RERUM GESTARUM INVESTIGATORI SUBTILISSIMO”.

The inscription below the medal image: „AMICI ET DISCIPULI / VENERABUNDI / MDCCCLXXXVII”.

Theodor von Sickel (1826–1908) was a historian researching the Middle Ages, and a significant representative of diploma studies. In 1867, he received his appointment at the University of Vienna, and the commemorative medal was created for the 30th anniversary of his professorship.

Theodor von Sickel medal


Source/author of illustration:
ELTE University Library and Archives - University History Collection