Sultan Abdulaziz's Visit to London Commemorative Table Medal, 1867
Bronze gilt, weighing 275 grams, right-facing bust of Sultan Abdulaziz, inscribed in Latin "ABDULAZIZ OTHOMANORUM IMPERATOR, LONDINIUM INVISIT MDCCCLXVII" (Ottoman Emperor Abdulaziz London 1867 Visit), engraver marked "J.S. & A.B. WYON SC." under the bust on the obverse, Britannia and a Turkish woman shaking hands (West meets East), London's Westminster Abbey to the left, Constantinople's Hagia Sophia to the right, assorted gifts at their feet, a factory with three plumes of smoke and the greeting "WELCOME" in the background, 76.5 mm, light contact, near extremely fine. Footnote: Abdulaziz (February 18, 1830 - June 4, 1876) was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned between June 25, 1861 and May 30, 1876. He was the son of Sultan Mahmud II and succeeded his brother Abdulmecid in 1861. Born at the Eyup Palace, Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) on February 18, 1830, Abdulaziz received an Ottoman education but was nevertheless an ardent admirer of the material progress that was made in the West. The Sultan took an interest in documenting the Sultanate, for which purpose he appointed a Polish painter to his Court. He was also interested in literature and was also a classical music composer. Some of his compositions have been collected in the album "European Music at the Ottoman Court" by the London Academy of Ottoman Court Music. Abdulaziz cultivated good relations with the Second French Empire and the British. In 1867, he was the first Ottoman Sultan to visit Western Europe. His trip included a visit to the United Kingdom, where he was made the 756th Knight of the Garter by Queen Victoria and shown a Royal Navy Fleet Review with Ismail of Egypt. The biggest achievement of Abdulaziz was to modernize the Ottoman Navy. In 1875, the Navy had 21 battleships and 173 warships of other types, ranking as the third largest navy in the world after the British and French navies. He established the first Ottoman railroad network and Sirkeci Train Station in Istanbul, terminus of the Orient Express. Impressed by the museums in London, Paris and Vienna, he established the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Under Abdulaziz's reign, Turkey's first postage stamps were issued in 1863, and Turkey joined the Universal Postal Union in 1875 as a founding member. In addition to being made the 756th Knight of the Garter, he was also made the 127th Grand Cross recipient of the Order of the Tower and Sword of Portugal.