60 mm (2.36”), 80 grams
HISTORY: L. Gevaert & Cie was founded in Antwerp, Germany, in 1894, manufacturing photographic papers and equipment. In 1897, they added the Agfa trademark, which became an important name in photographic products and cameras throughout the following century.
OBVERSE: In 1912, Gevaert held a photography competition in The Hague, the Netherlands. This medal was cast for the winners, designed by Curt Carl Ludwig Stoeving (3/6/1863–12/6/1939), who was an architect, a painter, and a sculptor born in Leipzig and who settled in Berlin. A nude man stands along the precipice of a rugged coastline, holding a scale of justice in his right hand and an olive branch in his left hand. To the lower left is a tuft of flowers. The theme at first seems self-evident for a contest: a scale of justice for fairness and an olive branch as an offer of conciliation or goodwill to those who did not win. However, there is no reference in history or mythology of a man holding a scale of justice, so this figure is a mystery or perhaps a first. The olive branch is held, rather than worn, as a wreath, so this meaning is also not clear. The steep cliffs in the background are reminiscent of a California coastline rather than the coastline of either the Netherlands or Germany, which has no such coastline, so it is not certain where Stoeving envisioned the location of the scene. At the bottom of the medal, to the left, is the signature “L. STOEVING, BERLIN.”
REVERSE: “CONCOVRS, GEVAERT, WEDSTRIJD, 1912” dominates the reverse of this medal. “Concours” (“contest”), “Gevaert” (“the photographic company”), and “Wedstrijd” (“competition”) loosely translate as “Photo Competition.” Photography was still undergoing many technological innovations in 1912 and not available to the average person. In very small letters at the bottom is the mint “AWES MÜNZE” of Berlin, with their mint mark in the center: a snake, in the shape of an “S,” entwines a “C” shape, perhaps another smaller snake.