Medallions launched to mark 150th year of Istana

A silver medallion, in the shape of the main Istana building, alongside two medallions depicting the changing of guards parade and children playing on the lawn of the Istana during an open house.
A silver medallion, in the shape of the main Istana building, alongside two medallions depicting the changing of guards parade and children playing on the lawn of the Istana during an open house.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

They depict icons such as Istana's centre gate and Sri Temasek

A set of five souvenir medallions was launched yesterday to mark the 150th anniversary of the Istana.

The series - released by the President's official residence in conjunction with the Singapore Mint - includes five different designs.

They depict monuments such as the 88-year-old centre gate of the Istana, and the Sri Temasek building, which is the 19th-century bungalow that serves as the official residence of the Prime Minister.

Another of the silver medallions, in the shape of the main Istana building, is unique in that it is the only medallion so far to feature the Presidential Crest, according to Singapore Mint director David Yip.

The other two medallions depict the changing of guards parade and children playing on the lawn of the Istana during an open house.

Also included with the series is a Nets FlashPay card, showing the front view of the main Istana building.

President Halimah Yacob launched the souvenirs yesterday, during the Istana open house held in conjunction with the second day of Chinese New Year.

"The designs of the series create a unique opportunity for Singaporeans to know more about the history and heritage of the Istana," she said, noting that proceeds will go to the President's Challenge, the annual community outreach and fund-raising campaign.

President Halimah added that she hoped to work with voluntary welfare organisations for future souvenirs, to showcase the work of their beneficiaries.

A second series of medallions featuring the flora and fauna of the Istana will be launched in July.

The Istana welcomed more than 23,000 people yesterday.

Visitors were treated to a variety of performances, including a lion dance by the Yi Wei Athletic Association and a wushu performance by the Metta School.

While some tried their hand at traditional Chinese calligraphy, others enjoyed the biodiversity of the Istana's grounds on a guided walk conducted by the National Parks Board. Meanwhile, volunteers from the National Heritage Board took visitors on tours of the main building, where they got to see selected function rooms and collections of state gifts presented to the President and the Prime Minister.

 

Built in 1869 as Government House, the Istana served as the residence of 21 governors during the colonial period before Singapore's independence.

On Oct 6, it will open to the public at night for the first time to mark its 150th anniversary.

As part of the celebrations, there will be a travelling exhibition featuring the Istana's history and heritage later this year, while a series of new books covering the history, architecture and wildlife of the Istana grounds will also be launched.

The medallions are available in limited quantities at Singapore Mint retail shops from today, with prices ranging from $40 to $220 per medallion. They can also be pre-ordered at The Singapore Mint's website.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2019, with the headline 'Medallions launched to mark 150th year of Istana'. Print Edition | Subscribe