A medal or medallion is a portable artistic object belonging to the class known as numismatics, struck like a coin by dies on a durable metal flan or planchet of varying sizes and shapes though frequently found as the more common round piece of metal in bas relief of varying heights that has been sculpted, molded, cast, struck, stamped, or some way marked with an insignia, portrait, or other artistic rendering usually surrounded by a legend, i.e., an inscription. Medals having a rectangular shape, for example, are a special class known as plaquettes. Other irregular and non standard shapes or configurations abound including a wide variety of shapes of badges, crosses, stars, and so forth, sometimes attached to a ribbon or cord.
There are at least seven classes of medals. 1. Awards: A medal may be awarded to a person or organization as a form of recognition for sporting, military, scientific, cultural, academic, or various other achievements. Military awards and decorations are more precise terms for certain types of state decoration.