This extremely rare, 1-of-a-kind, New York Zoological Society Award Medal was made by Tiffany & Co., in solid 14 karat gold, and was presented to John Tee-Van in 1961 for 50 years of scientific achievement and devoted service.
John Tee-Van began his career as an apprentice zookeeper at the New York Zoological Park (now known as the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo). In 1917, he joined the newly-formed Department of Tropical Research where he spent 25 years traveling on scientific expeditions before returning to the zoo in 1941 as Executive Secretary, and became Administrative Assistant to the President of the New York Zoological Society (NYZS, now known as WCS). In 1952, he became Director of the Bronx Zoo where he was responsible for both animals and people. He was instrumental for obtaining benefits such as social security and group life insurance for the NYZS employees. John Tee-Van dedicated over half a century of his life to the organization (50 years, 10 months, and 13 days to be exact) and was presented with this medal as a token of appreciation.
The extremely attractive obverse displays the original NY Zoological Society seal, designed by Charles R. Knight, featuring a large ram's head atop an eagle.
Text on the obverse reads "New York Zoological Society - Founded 1895".
The rim of the medal is signed and hallmarked, "Tiffany & Co. 14KT. Gold".
This close-up shot of the Tiffany & Co. signature also shows the Mint State details of the obverse.
Although still Minst State, the 14 karat gold medal has developed a beautiful, rich patina.
The reverse side of the medal is hand-engraved with the following: "John Tee-Van for 50 years of scientific achievement and devoted service".