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Medallic Size Words Glossary----FYI

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from e-sylum e-newsletter


Medalet - Round - up to 25mm

Medal - Round - 26mm to 80mm

Medallion- Round - 81mm to 30.5cm (usually two-sided)

Circular Relief - Round - over 30.5cm (usually one-sided)

Tondo - Round - over 30.5cm (used architecturally)


Plaquette - Square or Rectangular - Longest side under 30.5cm

(may be two-sided)


Plaque - Square or Rectangular - Longest side between 30.5cm

and 61cm (usually one-sided)


Tablet - Square or Rectangular - Longest side over 61 cm

(usually one-sided)"

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Unfortunately, this will not be useful as medallic objects can (a) have many different shapes, not just circle and rectangular, and (b) medallic series can have many different sizes which may not all fall in one category. Consider the 101 mm Jefferson Indian Peace medal. I just called it a medal, which I think it is and has always been called. But at 101 mm, it's not a medal by those strict definitions.


I have no problem with use of "medallion" for a very large medal, or "medalet" for a very small medal, or "plaque" for a rectangularish medal. But "medal" I think is the generic term for all of these, not just those of a certain size. These are judgement calls, and awfully subjective. Rather than trying to formulate strict definitions, we should realize that cultural objects will never always be able to be pigeonholed into strict categories we may name for them. It's similar to trying to categorizing a band into a musical genre.

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