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:
The sale began with “A Collection Of Medals To The Indian Army, The Property Of A Retired Indian Army Officer” (Lots 1–97); unusually the anonymous vendor contributed a short introduction to the sale, which contained many delightful medals. One of these was the China Medal 1842 to Assistant Surgeon J. McIntosh, 2nd Madras Native Infantry [Lot 17]; with minimal research, it reached its bottom estimate of £500 (hammer, £600 including buyers’ premium of 20 per cent). An intriguing Indian Mutiny Medal clasps Delhi, Relief Of Lucknow, Lucknow to Sowar Punjab Sing [sic], 1st Regiment of Hodson’s Horse , had a top estimate of £1,200, but, because of its rarity, sold for a magnificent £4,080. A Queen’s South Africa Medal clasps Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg to Sgt E. I. Lockhart, Lumsdens Horse , even with no catalogued research, appealed to the room to the tune of £384 (top estimate £140). A really impressive and well researched group  was awarded to a member of a famous family, (Lt-Col) Henry Lyell (1804–75), 43rd Bengal Light Infantry, comprising Candahar Ghuznee Cabul Medal 1842, Maharajpoor Star 1843, Sutlej 1845 Medal for “Sobraon”, where he was severely wounded. The top estimate of £1,800 was easily overtaken, the lot making £2,760. A very well received lot  was the Burma Gallantry Medal (GVI) group to Ambulance Sepoy Saw Tha Nyunt, who dived into a rapid of the Dhareswali River June 25, 1944, to save a comrade from drowning; the rest of the group (1939–45/Burma Star, War Medal) was un-named. The lot was bid up to £4,800 (top estimate £3,500).
The next section (Lots 98–133) was a collection of medals to the name “Lyon”. The first of these was awarded to (Captain) Kenneth Lyon (1886–1956), who ended his career as Under Secretary of State at the War Office during World War II, comprising CB, CBE (civil), BWM/VM (MiD), Defence Medal, Coronation 1911, Jubilee 1935, Coronation 1937, France Legion d’Honneur, and a medal named for him as Master of the Glass Sellers’ Company. A pre-World War I civil servant, Lyon served in the Royal Field Artillery 1916–19, subsequently resuming his civilian career. The top estimate was £1,000, and the successful bidder paid £1,320, a good deal less than the buyer of the group when it was sold at Morton & Eden, December 12, 2008, for £2,415. The medal group of Kenneth Lyon’s younger brother, Maurice, formed Lot 100: Distinguished Service Cross (GV), 1914–15 Star (AB, RN), British War & Victory Medals (MiD) (Major, RAF), Defence Medal, Order of the Nile 4th Class. His DSC (February 1917) was awarded for service with No 14 Kite Balloon Section in Mesopotamia, and his two Mentions were respectively for Mesopotamia (August 1917) and the Mediterranean (June 1919). The top estimate was £2,500, but the group was bid up to £3,600. A well-researched group appealing to a wide range of collectors was the 1914–15 Star Trio to Lt Walter Scott Stuart Lyon, 9/Royal Scots . A pre-war Territorial, he was appointed Staff Captain to the Lothian Brigade at the outbreak of war, re-joining his battalion in March 1915; he was killed in action May 8, 1915. Although Lyon was catalogued as a war poet, the lot was given a conservative top estimate of £500, but it was a pleasant surprise for the vendor when it realised £1,680. An enigmatic lot with a large amount of research  was the British South Africa Company Medal 1890 with “Mashonaland 1897” reverse to Alfred Herbert Lyon (1873–1939), BSA Police. His career as catalogued indicated that he was also awarded a QSA Medal, British War & Victory Medals, and recorded that Lyon had applied for a replacement BSA Medal, which may never have been issued. The top estimate of £280 was just beaten as the lot sold for £360.
The third section was Single Campaign Medals (Lots 134–254), which opened with four Naval General Service Medals 1793, the most interesting of which  was the medal with clasps 14 March 1795, St Vincent, awarded to Able Seaman John Cameron, who served on HMS Captain for both engagements. With no research other than the medal roll, the lot had a top estimate of £5,000, but the successful bidder had to go to £10,200. In contrast, a superb Military General Service Medal clasp Maida  to Major William Smythe Plenderleith, who commanded the 81st Foot at the battle, surprisingly failed to reach the bottom estimate of £3,500, since the catalogue recorded a fascinating history surrounding Plenderleith’s conduct and leadership during the battle (July 4, 1806). It appears that some senior officer colleagues blackened his name, resulting in his not receiving the Gold Medal for the battle, and in his early retirement in June 1808. It went for £3,200 (hammer £3,840 with premium. The MGSM with clasps Martinique, Albuhera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Orthes, Toulouse to John Roberts, 23rd Foot  was well researched, showing that Roberts was wounded at Badajoz, and was also entitled to a Waterloo Medal. The estimate of £4,000–5,000 was entirely realistic, if not conservative, considering that when the medal was sold at DNW in June 2006 it made £6,800 (hammer). This time it sold for £4,200 (hammer, £5,040 in total). This sale included six single Waterloo Medals, perhaps the most intriguing of which militarily was the medal to (Captain) Stephen Holmes, 78th Foot , a unique award to the regiment, (he was serving as a Brigade-Major in 6th Division). Holmes distinguished himself at Burgos in the Peninsula as an officer in the 24th Foot, but he died in 1839, and did not receive the MGS Medal. The top estimate of £8,000 was overtaken, and the lot realised £10,560. The Crimea Medal clasp Sebastopol to Lt-Col Thomas Bunbury Gough, 33rd Foot , was catalogued with basic career details, but was clearly worthy of much deeper research; he was severely wounded at the Alma, but survived to be wounded again at the September 8, 1855 assault on the Redan, dying ten days later of those wounds. The catalogue stated: “Although this medal is entirely as issued it should also have the clasp for Alma”. Just so, but this fact did not deter the bidders, one of whom paid £3,480 (top estimate £2,500). An intriguing Indian Mutiny Medal clasp Central India, to Sgt Michael Sharry, 88th Foot , surprisingly failed to stir the room enough to reach its lower estimate of £400, selling for £390 (hammer, £468 altogether), despite the fact that he was severely wounded in October 1858, and the lot begged for more research. The success of the Egypt Medal 1882 clasp Suakin 1885 to Cpl W. T. Marchant, Army Post Office Corps , clearly surprised the estimator, although the catalogue recorded that Cpl Marchant (who had the service number 5) came under fire at Kassassin in September 1882. The top estimate of £800 was soon left behind as the lot was bid up to £2,400. Hong Kong Plague Medals to the Shropshire Light Infantry  are always marketable, and this well researched example to William Humphreys was no exception; it had a top estimate of £1,200, but realised £1,920. A routine medal but with clear research potential  was the India Medal 1895 clasps Punjab Frontier 1897–98, Tirah 1897–98 to Pte G. Hartop, 1/Dorset Regiment, who was dangerously wounded by gunshot at Dargai in October 1897; it beat the top estimate of £350 to realise £444. A superb medal with even greater research potential was a QSA Medal with clasps Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Relief Of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Laing’s Nek, South Africa 1901  to Captain Alexander Richard Mildmay, 3/KRRC; not only was this an unusual medal in the number of its clasps, but Mildmay (1873–1901) was Mentioned in Despatches twice and killed in action near Blood River Poort. A top estimate of £3,000 was in the right area for this numismatically and militarily appealing medal, which sold for £4,080. Of the post-war medals one that stood out was the General Service Medal 1962 clasp Lebanon to OEM1 A. V. G. Potts, RN, in box of issue ; the high top estimate of £650 was fully justified, as the lot, even with no research, was bid up to £936.
Then followed Single Orders and Decorations (Lots 255–280), of which one of the most attractive pieces was the Royal Red Cross 1st Class (unattributed) , estimated at £600; it clearly impressed the bidders, selling for £1,560.
Next came Long Service Medals etc (Lots 281–313), and the most appealing lot was the Royal Marine Meritorious Service Medal (V) (2nd Issue) to 1st Class S-Sgt John Downer, RMA , issued January 1889; although his Long Service Medal was missing, the lot beat its estimate of £700 to achieve £960.
Life Saving Awards came next (Lots 314–321), of which the most intriguing (and the most expensive) was the group to AB Robert Charles William Brown, Merchant Navy . The group consisted of Sea Gallantry Medal (GV) (SS Usworth, 14 December 1934), 1939–45/Atlantic/Italy Stars, War Medal, Lloyds’ Medal for Saving Life at Sea, Liverpool Shipwreck & Humane Society Marine Medal, Shipwrecked Fishermen & Marines Royal Benevolent Society Medal, Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York Medal. All four of the life-saving medals were for the same event: the rescue by sailors of the SS Ascania (including Brown) and the Jean Jadot of survivors from the SS Usworth, severely damaged by a hurricane. The top estimate of £2,500 was in the right area, as the group realised £3,480.
After Ribbons from the Collection of Henry Pownall (Lots 322–360) came Miniature Medals (Lots 361–363). Lot 361 was a group of nine dress miniatures attributed to Major-General Stuart MacDonald, RAMC. The catalogue recorded that the full-size group and the miniatures were sold together at Spink in May, 2001, nevertheless this depleted lot made £312 (top estimate £140).
Miscellaneous (Lots 364–380) and Original Squadron Crests (Lots 381–397) were followed by World Orders and Decorations (Lots 398–428). Lot 398 was the group of 23 orders, decorations and medals awarded to Lt-Gen Maurice Robert Hector Delvoie, Belgian Army; of these 23, the 1939–45/France & Germany Stars, Defence & War Medals were British. The top estimate was £3,000, the lot made £5,280.
Militaria (Lots 429–445) and Books (Lots 446–453) were followed by Campaign Groups & Pairs (Lots 454–581), which opened  with a beautiful and unusual (unique?) group to Charles Stuart Campbell, CB (1779–1854). The group consisted of Field Officer’s Gold Medal for St Sebastian, MGS Medal with clasp Corunna (Captain, 26th Foot), Portuguese Peninsula War Cross, Portuguese Commander’s Medal for Vittoria and St Sebastian. The catalogue recorded the major events of his military career, including the fact that he commanded the 3rd Portuguese Regiment at Vittoria and St Sebastian, being severely wounded during the assault of the latter, but the lot reached no more than its bottom estimate of £18,000 (hammer, £21,600 with premium). A superb regimental group to Joseph Ellicock, 32nd Foot , comprised Punjab Medal clasps Mooltan, Goojerat, India General Service Medal clasp North West Frontier, Indian Mutiny Medal clasp Defence Of Lucknow, Long Service Medal (V); Ellicock was Orderly to the Lucknow garrison Commander, Sir John Inglis, and mention was made of him in the diary of Lady Inglis. With a top estimate of £3,000, the lot was bid up to £4,920. A Light Brigade “Charger’s” group was a highlight of the auction: Lot 463 was the Crimea Medal with four clasps (contemporary engraved naming), French Medaille Militaire, Turkish Crimea Medal to John Andrews, Sergeant, 4th Light Dragoons. Accompanied by his original parchment discharge certificate (December 17, 1860), the group achieved the bottom estimate of £6,000 (£7,200 in all). Another excellent regimental group was awarded to T/ Sgt-Maj J. Mobbs, 20th Hussars , comprising Egypt Medal clasps Suakin 1884, Tofrek, Long Service Medal (V), Meritorious Service Medal (GV), Khedive’s Star; Mobbs was wounded at Tofrek, and this was therefore a very scarce group, so it was no surprise when it was bid up to £1,800 (top estimate £800). A QSA/KSA Pair  with virtually no research but with a scarce clasp was awarded to (Sgt) G. Pile. His QSA, with the service number 6 in the Protectorate Regiment Frontier Force, had clasps Orange Free State, Defence Of Mafeking, Transvaal; the KSA (two clasps), named for him in the Border Scouts. The top estimate of £1,100 was not far from the final price of £1,440. An apparently simple 1914–15 Star Trio  more than doubled its top estimate of £250, because it was awarded to Hugh Norton Tate, a civilian, and the medals were impressed: “Service With The Royal Navy” after the recipient’s name; with a certain amount of career research, the lot was knocked down for £624. Among the more modern groups, Lot 560 was of some interest: 1939–45/Italy/France & Germany Stars, Defence & War Medals, Queen’s Korea Medal, UN Korea to (Sgt) L. Kent, KOSB (on the Korea Medal); the catalogue recorded that he was wounded on the bridge at Arnhem while serving with 2nd Parachute Regiment. The top estimate of £1,000 was left behind with the lot realising £1,920. A very modern group  to L/Cpl J. S. McCullough comprised GSM 1962 clasp Northern Ireland (Royal Irish), UN Cyprus, Jubilee 2002, Accumulated Campaign Service Medal with three clasps (Ulster Defence Regiment), Long Service Medal (EII) (R Irish). Totally unresearched, this group was knocked down for £1,020 (top estimate £550).
The last section was Gallantry and Distinguished Service (Lots 582–663). This opened  with the superb group to General Sir George Anson, GCB (1769–1849), which included the unique Large Army Gold Medal with clasps Salamanca, Vittoria. His career was set out in the catalogue, recording his various honours and awards, and the lot reached the top estimate of £50,000 (hammer, £60,000 with premium). Another highly attractive lot  was the group awarded to (Rear-Admiral) Christopher Theodore Jellicoe, RN (1903–1977): Companion of the Bath, Distinguished Service Order (GVI), Distinguished Service Cross and Bar (GVI), 1939–45/Atlantic/Africa/Italy Stars, War Medal (MiD), Coronation Medal 1953 (the World War II campaign medals having privately engraved naming). The catalogue described Jellicoe as “the epitome of the gallant destroyer captain”, and his career and awards fully justified this. The top estimate of £10,000 was not enough to secure the lot, which sold for £16,800. A very unusual lot  was the group awarded to Hervy Hardinge Golding, Merchant Navy (1887–1982), consisting of Officer of the Order of the British Empire, BWM, Mercantile Marine War Medal, 1939–45/Atlantic Stars, War Medal, Southern Railway Company’s Meritorious Service Medal. Golding was Master of the SS Isle Of Jersey, the last ship to leave the Channel Islands before the German occupation. His award was for his calmness, bravery and competent handling of his ship when it came under fire from enemy aircraft at St Peter Port, June 28, 1940. This scarce group had a top estimate of £5,000, and was accompanied by a huge amount of personal memorabilia and photographs; it was unsurprisingly bid up to £8,400. A more orthodox gallantry group  was the Military Cross and Bar, 1914–15 Star Trio to (Captain) Dering Addison, Seaforth Highlanders (Private on Star), whose awards were for Ypres, July 31, 1917 and Mont Huwy, October 28, 1918 (according to the engraving on the MC); this excellent regimental group, estimated very conservatively at £2,200, cost the successful bidder £4,440. Another group , this one much rarer, was awarded to (C/Sgt) Benjamin White, RMA: Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (V), Egypt Medal 1882 clasp Tel-El-Kebir, Jubilee 1897, Coronation 1902, Coronation 1911, Long Service Medal (V), RM Meritorious Service Medal, Khedive’s Star; the CGM was awarded for his actions at Kassassin, which helped prevent the enemy from turning the British left flank. The top estimate of £15,000 looked about right, but the group finally realised £25,200. The highest price paid in this sale was for Lot 660, which comprised Military Medal (EII), GSM 1962 clasp Northern Ireland, South Atlantic Medal 1982 (rosette), UN Cyprus Medal, NATO Medal clasp Kosovo, Jubilee Medal 2002, Long Service Medal clasp Regular Army (EII) to (Cpl) Ian P. Bailey, 3/ Parachute Regiment. This iconic award, for Bailey’s gallantry at Mount Longdon, when he charged with rifle and fixed bayonet alongside the late Sgt Ian Mackay, VC, was sold by the recipient himself, and was realistically estimated at £60,000, as it included important original documentation. However, the final figure achieved was £84,000.