What you see here is a free railway pass, made of gold. This is how Members of Parliament in New Zealand travelled with the railway from the 1870’s.
The use of gold medallions instead of paper passes was being questioned, as we can read in this article in Tuapeka Times, 13 June 1888 (extracts below):
In 1893, the gold passes were replaced by leather passes. Not a welcome decision, though, as we learn from “Hon. W.M. Bolt’s indignant protest against being asked to put a leather medal in front part of his distinguished anatomy”. The background to this decision is explained in Tuapeka Times, 26 July 1893 (extracts below):
Source: National Library of New Zealand.
A lot has changed since. Today, it’s not an issue to put objects of whatever material “in front part of our distinguished anatomy”, and as for the railway, senior citizens and veterans in New Zealand can use public transport for free (off peak hours), with a SuperGold pass. It’s made of plastic, but it’s the idea that counts, isn’t it?
Inspired by online jewellery collections, I occasionally introduce an image together with a few words. I call it Storytime, because I believe that jewellery carry so many stories. You are more than welcome to add your own poem, words or thoughts in a comment – be my guest!