Leonardo da Vinci 500th Anniversary Medal

Stephanie S. writes: I have a 5-cm diameter silver-colored token that I can’t find any information about. It has a raised image of Leonardo da Vinci’s head and beard on the front. On the back, it is imprinted with raised letters “LEONARDO DA VINCI NEL V CENTENARIO XV-IV-MCMLII”. There are also two leaf motifs; perhaps an oak branch to the left and perhaps an olive branch to the right of the writing. In very small print on the bottom it is imprinted with “LORIOLI”. Although the token is silver-colored, the color is coming off in slight spots and scratches, with a darker color visible underneath. The thickness varies from 2.5 mm at the top to 4 mm at the bottom where his beard is. I would appreciate any information you could provide.

Your medal commemorates the 500th anniversary of the birth of Leonardo da Vinci and is dated April 15, 1952 (XV-IV-MCMLII). As it is usual for a designer to sign his work, “LORIOLI” was most likely the designer. Based on your description, this is a plated piece, most likely silver plated over copper or bronze.

Though I have no other information as to the issuer, though that might be imprinted on the medal (you might take a look at the edge), this type of piece is reminiscent of the typical, privately minted pieces sold in tourist shops all over Italy. These are collectable but their value depends on the issuer, quality of work and the condition of the piece. Estimated value: $3-$10.