Jason Clarke Antiques

Royal Scottish Society of Arts Keith Medal to John Reid FRSSA dated 1871


For sale, a Royal Scottish Society of Arts Keith Medal awarded to John Reid for his new water meter in February 1871

This rare silver medal is decorated with a laurel wreath to the face and surrounded on its outer circumference with the words, “Royal Scottish Society of Arts & Institut 1821, incorp 1841”. To the centre it is further engraved with, “to John Reid FRSSA for his new water meter described 27th February 1871, value 10 sovereigns”.

The obverse is decorated with a coat of arms with shield to the centre and surrounded by three stags with text surrounding, “Prize instituted 1828, by AL Keith Esq of Dunottar”.

The Keith medal was instituted by The Royal Scottish Society of Arts to pay tribute to its early benefactor Alexander Keith of Ravelstone & Dunnotar and his name appears in the Society’s 1841 Warrant for Royal Charter. Some of the early literature for the Society following it receipt of the Charter states,

“The funds are at present in a prosperous state, and have been considerably assisted by a handsome donation of L400 from the trustees of the late Alexander Keith of Ravelstone and Dunottar Esquire; being a portion of the sum of L1000 bequeathed by him for the promotion of Science and the Arts; the interest arising from which, by the terms of the gift, is applied by the Society in awarding Prizes of Medals for, “inventions, improvements, or discoveries in the Useful Arts, which shall be primarily submitted to the Society.” A medal has accordingly been struck, bearing the arms of the founder, and called the KEITH MEDAL.”

This important Victorian prize medal was awarded to John Reid, a prominent Scottish engineer from the period who was also the manager of the Edinburgh & Leith Gas Company at the time of the award. The details relating to the prize have so far eluded me due to my lack of access to the National Library of Scotland where the records are held but his invention must have been significant in order for him to have received such an accolade. It was also seemingly printed in The Engineer publication of 1871.

Reid was himself also a Fellow of The Royal Scottish Society of Arts at the time of his award.

A rare and historic scientific medal.

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