The Langley Medal awarded to James Webb in 1976. The obverse designed by Jules Clément Chaplain, representing a female figure seated on a globe, carrying a torch in her left hand and in her right a scroll emblematic of knowledge; this face is inscribed with the words "Per orbem." The reverse adapted from the seal of the Smithsonian Institution as designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the special inscription being inserted in the center instead of the map of the world: "Langley Medal / James / Edwin / Webb / MCMLXXVI." Struck in gold by the Medallic Art Company, marked 14 karat, 80 mm diameter, approximately 231 grams. With case.
The Langley Medal was created in 1908 to commemorate Samuel Pierpont Langley [1834-1906], pioneer of aviation, third Secretary of the Smithsonian, and founder of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The first recipients of the medal were the Wright Brothers, in 1909.
The medal is of exquisite design, uniting as it does the work of Art Nouveau medal engraver Jules Clément Chaplain with that of the American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudenshimself famed for his coin and medal designs such as the $20 "Double Eagle" gold piece.