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" on them.

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.
Challenge Coins 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.
Picture of a Foreign Medal 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.
Picture of a Panama Medal 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.
Picture of a Panama Pacific Medal 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.