|Medallions Special Collection
MD.20, MD.141, MD.64, MD.126, MD.111, MD.101, MD.80, MD.42, MD.74, MD.36, MD.51, MD.64
Medals are typically round pieces of metal struck or cast for commemorative purposes. Religious devotional medals often depict the saints. Medals may be designed for display purposes, or to be worn or attached to a rosary.
In the Middle Ages, it became common practice for pilgrimage sites to distribute tokens cast in lead, which served as a souvenir and proof that the pilgrim had duly reached the destination. During the Renaissance, religious medals became aides in popular devotion, often because the medals were given a papal blessing or enriched with indulgences. The issuing of papal jubilee medals began as early as 1475. Since then, the most noteworthy actions of each pontificate have been commemorated with medals.
Today we highlight “saintly medals” in our collections, including religious medals of saints, and papal medals of popes who have since been canonized (left to right):