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Medals Shine in Militaria & Ethnographica Sale

22nd September 2023.

Interesting medal groups sold well in Tennants Auctioneers’ Militaria and Ethnographica Sale on 20th September, led by a Second World War MM Group of Eight Medals, awarded to Corporal Frank Shepherd of the 1st-5th Battalion the Queen’s Royal Regiment, which sold for £3,500 (all figures exclude buyer’s premium). The medals comprise a Military Medal (Immediate Award), 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal with MID oak leaf, and Efficiency Medal. The Military Medal is sold with a letter from Buckingham Palace and a Recommendation Form detailing Shepherd’s actions which won him the medal; under heavy shelling outside Caen in 1944 he led a party of stretcher bearers and “In spite of continuous heavy shelling, and with complete disregard for his own safety, L/Cpl. Shepherd moved about the area, attending to the wounded and arranging for their evacuation. His constant cheerfulness, devotion to duty and fearless example was an inspiration to all the men, and by his action he was undoubtedly responsible for saving the lives of many of his companions”.

A group of three Cape Mounted Riflemen Long Service Medals, awarded to Private J. Conroy and comprising Queen’s South African Medal with four clasps, Kings South Africa Medal with two clasps, and Cape of Good Hope Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal sold well above estimate at £1,800. One of the most interesting lots in the sale was a Collection of Photographs and Ephemera relating to Jean Albert Errard of the French SAS and French Resistance, which sold for £3,200. Jean Albert Errard, known as ‘Shell Head’ due to the unusual shape of his head, joined the submariners at the age of 19, and was one of the first to join the French Libre Forces before being sent to Dakar, Gabon and French Equatorial Africa and taking part in the Syria Campaign in 1941. He later joined Captain Philippe Kieffer’s group of Commandos and after taking part in the 1942 Operation Jubilee, a raid on Dieppe, he was awarded the Croix de Guerre with a bronze star for his actions. In 1943 he parachuted into France and went to work with the French Resistance, later dropping behind enemy lines before the D-Day landings where he was responsible for harassing the enemy, and later escaped the Germans with the help of the religious order of Malestroit who hid him in their convent. A rare Royal Society Silver Medal in Commemoration of Captain Cook, made in 1784, sold for £1,300.

The top lot of the sale, however, was a Pair of 19th Century 28 Bore Percussion Saw Handled Duelling or Target Pistols, which were made by Edward London of London and sold for £3,800. Also selling well was a Colt Model 1861 Navy Six Shot Percussion Revolver, made in New York and which had matching numbers to all metal parts, including the wedge (sold for £1,700).

Elsewhere in the sale, a Princess Mary 1914 Christmas Tin containing the original waxed paper wrapped packet of plain chocolate sold for £850, an Elizabeth II Side Drum to the 1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment sold for £850, and a Late 19th Century Bagpipe Banner to 72nd Duke of Albany’s (1st Seaforth Highlanders) sold for £850. Amongst the bladed weapons in the sale a group of three 19th Century Indian weapons, led by a Talwar, sold for £3,800, an Imperial Russian Model 1881 Type Shashka sold for £2,000, and an Early 19th Century Naval Officer’s Dirk sold for £1,300. The top lot of ethnographica was a group of African objects, notably including an African Wood Spindle or Shuttle for a Loom with a figural pommel, sold for £2,500.


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