A HISTORIC medal from pre-Eureka has returned to Ballarat.
The Old Identities Association medal was bought last week at a Sydney auction and is one of only three known in existence.
The successful bidder at the auction was The Old Colonists' Association of Ballarat.
The Mining Exchange Gold Shop owner and gold dealer Cordell Kent said the latest medal seemed to be in the best condition of all three medals in existence.
"I am just really really pleased the Colonists got it," he said.
"It is just such a small thing but it is a big part of Ballarat's history."
The medal is engraved with the name of its original owner R.W. Wright and, according to Mr Kent, the medal was given to people who were looking for gold in Ballarat prior to Eureka.
"These are the early people who turned up in Ballarat when it was just bush," he said.
"It is fitting that it has been returned to the association."
Of the other two medal in existence, one is kept at Sovereign Hill's Gold Museum and the other is on display at the Museum of Victoria.
The association is now on the hunt for more information about R.W. Wright and other early Old Colonists memorabilia.
Anyone with information should head to 20 Lydiard Street North or the Gold Shop at 8a Lydiard St North.