Joe Levine writes: "Your note about the upcoming sale of the Titanic medal rang bells with me. I sold a gold example on eBay in 2002 for $8500.00. Below is my description of that medal."
Thanks! Below is the bronze specimen mentioned last week.
SPECTACULAR GOLD TITANIC AWARD MEDAL, 1912. 39.2 x 35mm kidney shaped. 15.0 grams 14k Gold. Very Fine. The obverse depicts the Carpathia coming to the aid of the Titanic's lifeboats in an ice field. Raised border depicting the crowned head of Neptune above, dolphins at the sides and an anchor and hailing trumpet motif below. An engraved inscription on the reverse reads as follows: PRESENTED TO/ MR. E. HY. HUGHES/ R.M.S. CARPATHIA/ BY THE/ RESCUED "SURVIVORS OF THE ILLFATED "TITANIC" ' LOST/ 14 APRIL/1912.. Stamped 14k mark at bottom. The medal has been polished and an earlier mount removed from the back (without disturbing the inscription.)
EVAN HENRY HUGHES, Chief Steward of the Cunard steamer Carpathia is one of six individuals recorded as recipients of gold medals at the special ceremony held in New York on May 29th, 1912. Reportedly these medals were actually presented by Mrs. Margaret Brown (the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown), who had famously seized the tiller of lifeboat #6 to turn it around in order to pluck survivors from the freezing ocean.
The other known examples of the Titanic/ Carpathia medal (in both gold and bronze) are unnamed and bear a die struck reverse inscription that reads, PRESENTED/ TO/ THE CAPTAIN/ OFFICERS & CREW/ OF/ R.M.S. "CARPATHIA"/ IN RECOGNITION OF GALLANT &/ HEROIC SERVICES/ FROM THE SURVIVORS/ OF THE/ S.S. "TITANIC"/ APRIL 15TH `9`1/ DIEGES & CLUST/ N.Y. (14KT impressed above the maker's name.)
This medal first appeared at auction in Sotheby's London Sale of July 7, 1998, Lot #99, where it brought 8050 pounds including buyer's fee. The Sotheby cataloger stated that it was "a piece of uncertain status lacking the usual reverse inscription in relief and therefore possibly a cast copy, with traces of removal of a broach-mount from the reverse and has been polished, about very fine." He further opined that it "….seems likely that the present piece was prepared subsequently for Mr. Hughes, perhaps as a private order. Its well-worn and re-mounted condition presents some difficulty and it may be noted that although the dimensions are exactly as other examples, the weight, at 14.97 grams is some 1.5 grams lighter than the gold medal awarded to Fifth officer Gustav J. Rath (Sold by Sotheby's New York, 29 July 1997, Lot 492." )
The suggestion that this is a replacement issue made from a casting of an original gold medal is erroneous. The dimensions of this piece are identical to that of the Rath Medal. Had this been a cast from an original, there would have been some measurable shrinkage from the original size. The fact that this medal weighs some 1.5 grams less than the Rath medal can be accounted for, if, as we believe, Mr. Hughes had the back of his original gold medal planed down and a customized inscription engraved on it.
We are joined in this opinion by Michael Hodder of Stacks who reached the same conclusion when he cataloged this medal for its appearance in Stack's Action Sale of March, 2001, lot #949.
EBay 1/04. Bronze. Unc. In original Dieges & Clust Box. $5433.00. ,
EBay 5/02 $8500.00
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
BONHAMS'S TO SELL MEDAL AWARDED TO CARPATHIA CREW FOR TITANIC RESCUE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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