Rare 18th-19th century Naval Medals sail to impressive values at auction

Spink's sale of medals on July 22 provided some memorable highlights for collectors and investors of medals and awards relating to the Naval Services.

The sale focused on the collection of Chris Turl and featured 94 lots of General Service Medals from the navy relating to the period of 1793 to 1840.

Sale highlights included a Naval General Service medal awarded to Private G. Morris of the Royal Marines, which featured the rare "Shannon with Chesapeake" clasp combination.

The double clasp was awarded following Morris's involvement in Lord Horatio Nelson's first Fleet Victory at the Nile in 1798 and for his efforts aboard the H.M.S Shannon during the capture of the American 38 gun frigate "Chesapeake" in Boston Bay in America in 1813.

Approximately 42 "Shannon with Chesapeake" clasps were issued and Morris's medal was thought to be only one of two issued with the combination of clasps.

In fine condition, the medal came up for sale with an auction estimate of £8,000. This figure was doubled at auction with the rare piece selling for an impressive £16,000.

Elsewhere a rare Officer's "American Frigate Action" naval general service medal awarded to Lt. Charles Rawdon of the Royal Navy was offered. Rawdon was present in 1814 on the H.M.S. Phoebe during the capture of the 32 gun Frigate Essex near Valparaiso Harbour in Chile.

The Four Clasp N.G.S Medal
Awarded to William Hole

The medal featured two clasps relating to the 1814 HMS Phoebe battles and for his efforts as Midshipman in the Algiers, making it a fine and extremely rare combination, with only two thought to have ever been issued.

With an estimate of £10,000, the medal sold for £17,000 at the auction.

Equally unique, was a Naval General Service medal awarded to Commander William Hole of the Royal Navy.

Hole served in various American boat actions like the destruction of Commodore Barney's Flotilla Up the Patuxent and also in assaults under Commanders Montrenor, Lockyer and most notably Roberts, during a 36 mile pull to engage five American Gun boat in 1814 on Lake Borgne.

In addition to this, Hole landed and served with the army in the attack on Baltimore and took part in a storming and capture of a heavy battery in New Orleans.

Having enjoyed an illustrious military career, Midshipman Hole, was awarded the 1793-1840 Naval General Service Medal which featured four clasps, relating to his involvement in conflicts in Martinique and Guadeloupe, as well as a  December 13 Boat Service medal from 1809 and a December 14 boat service medal FROM 1814.

With approximately 8 December 13 Boat Service clasps from 1809 issued, the piece was believed to be a one of a kind.

The fine and unique military combination saw the medal sell for £17,000 to one a lucky collector, inclusive of Buyer's Premium.

The value of these and other medals in the sale is sure to appreciate in coming years as interest in medals and militaria continues to grow.


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