Rare medal up at auction attracting national interest

Nigel Blagburn with the medal coming up for sale at Alnwick Auctions.'Picture Jane Coltman
Nigel Blagburn with the medal coming up for sale at Alnwick Auctions.'Picture Jane Coltman

The fourth-highest military order is to hit the auction-house on Sunday and is expected to be a popular item.

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, or lot 380 as it’s known at Alnwick Auctions, has been given a humble estimateof £1,500, but is expected to sell for much more.

The 22-carat-gold medal is mainly awarded to officers of the Armed Services, as well as to a small number of civil servants.

Alnwick Auctions owner Nigel Blagburn said that he’s had interest as far as London about the sale.

“I’ve had a few phone calls as we’ve used social media to promote it. I’ve had four calls about the medal.

“We’ve had a few medals in the past but never as rare as this. The medal is interesting and brings people in to look at and gives someone a chance to buy something really rare.

“You can’t go out to the shop and buy that.”

The title of the order is of late medieval in origin. It arose from the ritual of washing, which was inspired by the washing of baptism, a symbol of spiritual purification, which formed part of a knight’s preparations for the conferment of knighthood.

By the end of the 15th century, the ceremonial rituals disappeared but it was revived by George I in 1725 as a military order, to serve the purposes of the first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, who required an additional source for political rewards.

The medal at auction is believed to have come from around the 1850s, which would make it one of the first awarded around the time of the Crimean War, although this is not confirmed.

The event on Sunday is set to be one of the busiest in the auctioneer’s history with more than 250 people in attendance. The auction is open to everyone.

It starts at noon at the Alnwick Auctions building at the bottom of Wagonway Road.

For more information, contact Nigel on 01665 603438 or 07503 111331.