David B Smith writes:
From at least the beginning of the nineteenth century the medal has been used in Scotland both as a trophy to be won at the curling and as a prize of victory.
When one hears the word 'medal' one instinctively thinks of something like the basic definition of the word to be found in the Oxford English Dictionary, 'a coin-shaped metal object, made especially for commemorative purposes. In these senses, the device may have an attached loop or hole for suspension'. And, indeed, most Scottish curling medals conform with this definition.
I was quite surprised, therefore, when I discovered a different tradition in Sweden.
Although the game was first played in Sweden in 1847 it was not until 1916 that a national association, the Swedish Curling Association (Svenska Curling Forbundet) was founded. In 1917 it began a national championship, and from then it produced plaques, or plaquettes, to serve the same purpose as the medal in Scotland.
These plaquettes are basically rectangular in design although there are some slight divergences from rectangularity in some cases.
Engraved on the obverse are: “A.H.HAMILTON, S.S.C.” and on the reverse “FROM SWEDISH CURLING TEAM DEC., 1923”. This was obviously a gift from the Swedish curlers who toured Scotland for the first time in 1923 to the Secretary of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club.
I have another example of this form of the plaquette, this time a prize. It is engraved: 'ST MORITZ CUP/ 1934 1PRIS'. I have seen silver examples and the latest addition to my collection is one in bronze which reads: 'HOTEL ANGLAIS' HEDERSPRIS 1932 3. PRIS'. A 'hederspris' was a presentation prize.
Fagerberg, 1878-1848, was a well-known sculptor many of whose larger works are to be found in Swedish cities.
(The dates of the three examples I possess are 1944, 1945 and 1962. It is not clear to me whether these were won in national or club competitions for no club name is engraved. Perhaps a Swedish reader might help in this matter.)
Images © David B Smith