This medal is in uncirculated condition. I would grade it MS-61 or better.
The obverse shows former Secretary General of the UN Dag Hammarkjold. Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was an impressive man, who is mostly remembered for being the only person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously and also being the only UN Secretary General killed while performing his duties. He is shown in profile, facing to the right, wearing a conservative suit and with what appears to be his signature written across his leading shoulder.
He has a bit of a hangdog expression on the medal and doesn’t look like someone who smiled often. Either that, or he was a total prankster. It’s hard to tell from someone’s portrait on a medal.
The reverse shows the United Nations seal (the continents of the world covered with a circular grid atop 2 olive branches), surrounded by 2 registers. The inner register reads “Achieve International Cooperation and Harmonize the Actions of Nations.” The outer register reads “Maintain International Peace and Security * Develop Friendly Relations Among Nations”.
Date: 1961 (?)
Mint Mark: n/a
Mintage: unknown (but fairly large)
Country of origin: unknown
Composition: unknown (appears to be silver, but may be Nickel-Silver)
Size: 37 mm
Other details: This medal appears to have a planchet error – one side of the medal is about 50% thicker than the other.
Dag Hammarskjold died in a plane crash on September 18th, 1961, while negotiating a cease-fire in the Republic of Congo / Katanga region. There have been some conspiracy theories about the circumstances leading up to his death, and I think its remarkable how few people know his name today. John F Kennedy described him as “the greatest statesman of our century.”
Also, the UN issues a Dag Hammarskjold medal to the families of peacekeepers killed in the line of duty. That medal is crystal and looks nothing like this one.
From a collection of Hammarskjold’s writings as a young man:
“Tomorrow we shall meet,
Death and I -
And he shall thrust his sword
Into one who is wide awake.”
Estimated Value: $10-30