Medals of Panama
Medallas de Panamá
Medals are coin-like objects which are not issued as a medium of exchange. They
may be issued by private individuals, companies, organizations or even government
agencies to celebrate or commemorate an individual, an occasion or event.
Medals do not have a value on them. They may have a ribbon and be intended to
be worn, or they may be intended for exhibition as a souvenir or curio. Some of
them can be quite large.
This web site covers medals issued by or for Panama or the Canal Zone, medals
that are issued commemorating the Panama Canal or other Panama related events,
and medals unrelated to the Republic of Panama but which have the name "Panama"
The category Canal Medals
refers to the official medals issued by the French canal company, the Panama Canal Company,
the Panama Canal Commission, and to other Panama Canal related medals. The French canal company
issued a series of medals given to stockholders. During the American era, the
official medals were usually given to the Panama Canal employees.
Mintage was quite limited and these medals are highly prized by ex-employees
of the Panama Canal and their descendents as well as collectors.
refers to a type of medal or unit coin used by the American military. The challenge
coin may list achievements of the military unit in question, and a number of
them list Panama. Most of the Panama references are in regards to participation in
Operation Just Cause. Others refer to Panama or a Panama location in regards to training received
or as their base of operation.
The category Foreign Medals will be added later to
refer to the medals issued by Americans or other foreigners in regards to
the Panama Canal and other Panama related events or achievements. Some of these
were made by companies such as the Franklin Mint who sell collectibles. Others
were made as creative business cards by collecters of Panama, by opponents of
the treaty giving the canal to Panama, or by cruise lines as souvenirs.
The category Panama Medals will be added later to
refer to the medals issued by or for Panamanians. These include commemoratives
of anniversaries of Panama's independence, celebrating famous people in Panama's
history, the anniversaries of banks and other private enterprises, sports occassions,
etc. Many of these medals are very rare.
The category Panama Pacific Medals will be added later to
refer to the medals issued for or regarding the Panama Pacific and the Panama
California Expositions. Both of these exposition ran in 1915 to celebrate the
completion of the Panama Canal, and most of the medals mention the name "PANAMA"
on them. The Panama Pacific Exposition (or PPIE) held at San Franisco was much
larger than Panama Calfornia Expostion held at San Diego. There are an amazing
number of medals issued in connection with both of these expositions. Many of
them are allegorical in nature.
Admiral Vernon Medals
refers to the medals issued celebrating the accomplishments of Brtish Admiral Vernon.
Most Admiral Vernon medals celebrate his victory at Portobello, Panama. Others
celebrate a victory at Fort Chagres, and a few others at non-Panamanian locations
such as Cartagena, Columbia. Ironically the Cartegena medals were issued before
the final outcome of the battle was known, and Admiral Vernon was actually unsuccessful
in his siege of Cartagena. Although many of these medals are rare, they are at least as easy to
try to collect as the military tokens.