Market scene October - December 2009
The sheer number of sales in October, November and December 2009 means that we aren't able to accommodate full reports for each within the pages of MEDAL NEWS therefore we have highlights within the magazine with the full reports appearing here:
This sale (catalogue 40) was, like Gaul, divided into three parts, only the third of which (Lots 1280–1398) offered British orders, decorations and medals. This part of the sale opened with a very attractive and unusual Naval General Service Medal 1793 [Lot 1280], with three clasps Egypt, Trafalgar, Basque Roads, to Stephen Hilton (1785–1872). Described on the medal as Master’s Mate, he joined the Royal Navy as a ten-year-old volunteer, and ended his naval career as Commander; the catalogue, recorded that he served on Minotaur at Trafalgar. Estimated at £8,000–12,000, it achieved £9,000 (hammer, £10,350 including buyers’ premium of 15 per cent). A theme of this sale was that several medals were awarded to medical personnel, and one of these was the Military General Service Medal clasp Sahagun & Benevente to Assistant Surgeon Thomas B. Davis, 7th Light Dragoons ; although Davis had a very short career of only two months in the Peninsula, and although the medal was catalogued as “cleaned”, the lot was bid up to £3,220 (against a top estimate of £2,000). The medal of another Assistant Surgeon, Thomas Batt, 2nd Foot (1782–1848), had clasps Vimiera, Fuentes D’Onor, and his career was researched in some detail, showing that he was one of only two men of 2nd Foot to receive the Fuentes clasp; despite this, but perhaps because the medal was catalogued as “polished”, the lot  made no more than the bottom estimate of £1,500 (hammer, £1,725 in all). An intriguing MGSM  with clasps Maida, Talavera, Busaco to Sgt Thomas Butler, 61st Foot, was catalogued with a report from the Commanding Officer of 2/61st, recording that Butler was wounded and captured at Talavera, but escaped and returned to his unit; the successful bidder paid £1,800 (hammer, £2,070 in all) against an estimate of £1,500–2,000. Two outstanding medals to men of the 88th Foot (a unit described by Arthur Bryant as “a tough crowd from the bogs of western Ireland with a bad reputation for filching Portuguese chickens and goats”) made the best prices in this part of the sale. The ten-clasp medal (Talavera to Toulouse) awarded to Samuel Langsdale , even without research, was bid up to £4,600 against a top estimate of £2,800, and the same estimate was easily beaten by the ten-clasp medal [Busaco to Orthes] to John Walsh , which achieved £5,290.
There were 14 single Waterloo Medals on offer, all very collectable in their own way. The best price was realised by the medal to Captain Henry Andrews, 12th Light Dragoons , for which the successful bidder had to pay £4,830 (top estimate £3,000). The medal of yet another Assistant Surgeon, William George Burrell, 1/79th Foot , also exceeded expectation, making £4,140 (top estimate £3,000). The price achieved for the medal of Edward Gardiner, 2/73rd Foot  at £1,840, even though it was catalogued as polished and it beat its top estimate of £1,100, was perhaps disappointing for the vendor compared with the medal to James Carr, of the same regiment, which made £3,565 (including premium) at Warwick & Warwick on February 11, 2009. There were four MGS/Waterloo pairs on offer, possibly the most attractive of which was awarded to James Staples, 7th Light Dragoons/Hussars ; the MGS had clasps Orthes, Toulouse, he was wounded at Waterloo, and the catalogue included interesting research. This lot was bid up to £5,060 (top estimate £3,000). An Army of India Medal clasps Asseeghur, Argaum, Gawilghur/MGSM clasp Fuentes D’Onor pair to Alexander Liston, 94th Foot  still sold for £11,270 (top estimate £9,000), although the MGS had the rank “Sergeant” neatly engraved on it, and the pair was not in the best condition.
A superb group of Sutlej Medal 1845 with Ferozeshuhur reverse and clasp Sobraon (Surgeon, 29th Foot), India General Service Medal 1854 clasp Pegu (Surgeon, 80th Foot), Crimea and Turkish Crimea (both un-named) was awarded to Doctor John Robert Taylor CB , who started his Army career before 1837, and ended as Inspector General of Hospitals and an honorary surgeon to the Queen. It overtook its top estimate of £1,000 to achieve £1,840. An interesting single medal was the South Africa Medal 1877 clasp 1879 to Pte G. Rowley, 94th Foot , a victim of the Boer ambush at Bronkhorstspruit, December 1880; although the clasp had brooch-mounting, the lot made £805 (top estimate £600). This was immediately followed by Lot 1331, a Second Afghan War Medal to 2/Lt Edwin Christy, who was accidentally killed at Rawalpindi in 1880; this more than doubled its £300 top estimate to make £863.
An intriguing British War & Victory Medal with Coronation Medal 1911  to Victor Alexander Charles Harbord, Scots Guards (1897–1943), was estimated at £300–400; accompanied by research confirming that there was no missing Star, it came in at £360 (hammer, £414 with premium). For collectors of Indian material Lot 1347, comprising BWM/VM pair, Territorial Force War Medal, Indian General Service Medal 1908 clasp Afghanistan NWF 1919 to Harvey Allen, 4/Devons and 2/Somerset Light Infantry was very attractive; the lot was accompanied by a large number of postcards with photographs of India, and some of a more personal nature to his fiancée. Estimated rather high at £300–400, it nonetheless came in at £320 (hammer, £368 in all). One of the modern lots in the sale was 1357: GSM 1962 clasp Northern Ireland/South Atlantic pair to Pte C. P. Stewart, 3/Para, estimated at £1,500–2,000; even with no research at all this lot made £1,600 (hammer, £1,840 in all). A superb group was awarded to (Sgt) G. A. Powell, RA , consisting of GSM 1962 clasp Northern Ireland, South Atlantic Medal with rosette, UN Cyprus Medal, First Gulf War Medal with clasp and rosette, Long Service Medal (EII). Totally unresearched, this group sold for the top estimate of £900 (hammer, £1,035 in all).
A very attractive group  to the Indian MedIcal Service was awarded to Lt-Col Henry Warwick Illius (1875–1941), and comprised Companion’s Neck Badge of the Order of the Indian Empire, India Medal 1895 clasp Waziristan 1901–02, Tibet Medal with clasp, 1914–15 Star Trio, GSM 1918 clasp Iraq(MiD) . The catalogue gave a brief appreciation of his extensive military service, but the lot failed to reach the bottom estimate of £2,500, selling for £2,400 (hammer, £2,760 in all). Proving once again the attraction of gallantry, the Distinguished Conduct Medal (GV) and 1914–15 Star Trio awarded to L/Sgt J. Stone, 7/Yorkshire Light Infantry , even with no research apart from a fine fighting citation from November 1916, was bid up to £2,530 (top estimate £1,500). The same trend was followed by the following lot , a Military Medal (GV) and 1914–15 Star Trio to L/Cpl J. Maguire, 11/Royal Fusiliers (Finsbury Rifles), catalogued without research, but with a condition of “extremely fine or better”. The top estimate of £350 was easily beaten, with the lot achieving £575.