NASA/Jeanie Johnson Medal
When the Space Shuttle Columbia blasted off from the John F. Kennedy Space Center on April 4th 1998 on Mission STS-83 it included in its payload a specially commissioned medal made by Lee Brothers. The shuttle Commander James Halsell had requested to bring a memento from Ireland on the mission. Each crew member of each shuttle mission is allowed to bring a personal memento with him/her. The item must be small owing to the enormous expense incurred to propel each additional ounce out of the Earth’s atmosphere. Shuttle Commander James Halsell had met a Co. Kerry businessman at the previous years Olympic Games in Atlanta and through this friendship had requested an item from Ireland to bring into space. At the time the Jeanie Johnson project, based in Co. Kerry, was starting up and the connection was made between the shuttle voyage and the historic voyage of the ship. It was decided to strike a medal with the mission crest on the obverse and the Jeanie Johnson on the reverse. Because the best possible quality was required Lee Brothers was chosen to produce the medal. Commander Halsell took this medal with him and it spent some days in orbit around the Earth. President Mary McAleese placed a replica of the medal in the keel of the Jeanie Johnson at the ship’s keel laying ceremony.
2012 International Eucharistic Congress
In 2012 an international religious event was held in Dublin. The Catholic Church holds an International Eucharistic Congress every 4 years and for the 2012 event Dublin was chosen as the host city. The last time the event was held in Dublin was in 1932, 80 years previously.
Each Congress is organised by the local diocese and it has become customary for a medal to be struck to mark the event. Due to our valuable relationship with Independent Newspapers we were in a position to not only strike the medal but to handle all sales and distribution as well as sales at the event itself and the Congress organisers appointed us to handle the issuing of the medal. Designed by graphic designer Martin Barlow the medal featured the emblem of the congress and carried the congress motto on the reverse.
The event, attracting pilgrims from over 100 countries, lasted a week. The main hub for events was Dublin’s RDS and the week culminated by a mass held in Croke Park.
There was a certain synergy for Lee Brothers to be involved in this project as one of our founders, Christopher Lee, had been working in the Jewellery and Metal Manufacturing Company of Ireland during the 1930’s. J.M.Co. were the manufacturers of the medals for the 1932 Congress and as such it is most likely that Christopher was involved in their production.