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Okato, New Zealand Gold WWI Medal

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This is a more exotic gold WWI service medal. The front has the initials “A.F.“ engraved on a shield which in turn is on a larger shield cupped in crossed fern branches. The back is engraved, “Presented to // Driver A. Flower // — by the — // residents of Okato // for services during // the Great War // 1916-19.“ When I first laid eyes on the fern branches around the edge of the shield shaped medal I knew that this medal was from New Zealand. As a coin cataloger I was familiar with these same ferns on the New Zealand coat of arms as displayed on so many of their coins. The legend on the reverse indicated that this medal was presented by the residents of a place named Okato. That name was not listed in my Geographical Dictionary so it had to be a very small place or no longer in existence. Since I am also a book packrat I did have an 1890 World Atlas to check and sure enough there it was: Okato, New Zealand, population of 47 people in 1890!
Another interesting note about this medal is that the metal content is marked as ‘18Ct.”
I don’t know if this is the way it was done back then in the British World but as long as I have been around “Carat” is for diamonds and “Karat” is for gold. Also of note is that on the back there are mounts for two different hinged pins making me wonder what this medal originally looked like at the time of issue.




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