Vale is the first medal made by the artist, commissioned especially by the British Art Medal Society. Discussing this 'wonderfully provocative' invitation, de Waal describes how he 'kept coming back to the image of the obol, the silver coin given to Charon as payment for that great transition at death across the river Styx... So I created a silver coin.
On the one side is an image taken from an early Greek lekythos of the prow of Charon’s boat with the single word vale, farewell. On the reverse are the words, “this is Charon’s obol. A kind of viaticum – what fierce brightness.” I made the model in porcelain and have worked the clay to give a feeling of something worn away and abraded.'