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Gentlemen,

To me, one of the most satisfying aspects of collecting is the reuniting of related pieces and material which have become separated and scattered over the years, coupled with learning about the people connected to them. A classic case would involve an innocuous purchase made twelve years ago.

In 1994, at Jeff Floyd?s OMSA auction, I purchased a first coinage Hannoverian lifesaving medal named to Lt. Julius Hermann Mertens. Being quite a rare medal, only 83 of this coinage were awarded, and with my particular interest in Hannover, it became one of my favorite pieces. About all I could find on the recipient (from the 1865 Hannoverian House and State Handbook) was that he received his award as a Prussian Lieutenant in 1856. This award date presents an interesting situation in that it is generally accepted that this first coinage was awarded from 1845 to 1847, when the second coinage was introduced. It would, therefore, be assumed that this award was, as was often done, from old stock. This matter of these particular coinage changes is another topic worthy of future discussion.

The next step in this journey came about five years ago when, while visiting Eric Ludvigsen, I mentioned this medal. Those of you who knew Eric also know that was all he needed - the books and career of Julius Mertens? began flying around the room as fast as I could write. Ultimately, it was determined that Lt. Mertens retired to reserve status as General Major von Mertens, probably in 1896, after a very distinguished career.

Fast forward to three years ago. Checking Detlev Niemann?s web page, I find a lot of documents to Julius von Mertens consisting of four promotion documents (Portepee Fahnrich through Major) and ten award documents. His awards were to go from the rare, but humble, Hannoverian lifesaving medal in 1856 to a crown to his Red Eagle 2nd class with oakleaves forty years later on 3 Jan. 1896.

Aside from a few documents (they are out there and will show up someday), something else was missing; and finally, a couple of months ago, again through Detlev, we get a picture of our man. Below is Julius Hermann von Mertens and his Hannoverian lifesaving medal.

Best wishes,

Wild Card

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A nice story Mr Wild Card...its good to hear of these stories...its amazing what does turn up over the years...should be even better odds now with the Internet bringing collectors together who would normally be separated by the vast distances in between...

So..did you get the documents?

Kind regards

Paul

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Fantastic story, Wild Card :beer: Did you get the document for the medal as well?

I have never seen a Hannoverian Lifesaving Medal before. Absolutely mindblowing :cheers:

Thanks for sharing this treasure with us.

Gerd

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Congratulations WC, It's always a good thing when things come back together. I respect anyone who does this and encourage all to work when and where they can to re-unite groups or keep them together when others are splitting them.

And a very rare medal to boot!

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Fantastic!!

Well done.

Beautiful pieces.

Worthy of a JOMSA article methinks! :beer:

You are a true collector and historian.

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Hi Wild Card,

Julius Hermann von Mertens was promoted to Generalmajor on the 2nd of August 1888. He retired in late 1889 and died on the 10th of February 1900. That looks like a "1" on the epaulette fields so presumably taken when he commanded the Ostpreu?isches J?ger-Bataillon Nr. 1 from 15 Feb 1879 - 30 March 1880.

Regards

Glenn

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Gentlemen,

Thank you all for your comments, compliments and questions.

notned - Thank you, one of the main purposes of his presentation is to encourage others to stay alert for the opportunity to to the same Absolutely, if it were not for the internet, I would probably not have gotten the documents (yes, I did get those that were available) and the picture.

Gerd Becker - Thank you, glad that you enjoyed it. No, sadly I did not get a document for the Hannoverian medal; actually, I have never seen one of these either. For some reason, Hannoverian documents seem to be exceptionally rare. Incidentally, the second model of this medal has the same reverse but the obverse is the same as what we see on the 1846 - 1878 coinage of the silver and gold civil merit medals.

stogieman - Thank you, I attribute it to my early start with KG medals; you know Waterloos and MGS?s. I think that the key is patience. If part of the material is out ?on the market? chances are that the rest is as well, or will be; but luck plays a big part as well - finding it when it?s there.

Ulsterman - Thank you; but I?m not much of a writer. As I may have said before, I was fortunate to have my collecting life develop under the guidance of George Seymour and Eric Ludvigsen, so my approach reflects their influence. Hence from early on I appreciated and found the real enjoyment to be in the digging and discovering.

Glenn J - thank you for the additional information. This is particularly helpful in that I had previously thought that he lived until around 1903 or 1904.

In closing, rather than bore you with scans of all of the award and promotion documents, I will present one item that I think is rather unique. I hope that you enjoy it (I also hope that I can work this darned scanner).

Best to all,

Wild Card

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This is a telegram to ?generalmajor z d mertens zuletzt kdr der 39 inftr brigade hannover?

Next line - ?ss h v berlin m m 70 8 m =?

Body - ?neues palais den 3 januar 1986 - durch tapferkeit und geistesgegenwart erwarben sie sich unter ningabe des eigenen blutes beibapaume an der spitze einer kompagnie braver rheinischer jaeger das eiserne kreuz 1 klasze . zum zeichen dankbarer errinerung verleihe ich ihnen an dem heutigen 25 gedenktage hierdurch die krone zus rothen adler - orden 2 klasze mit eichenlaub = wilhelm r + "

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Greetings and thanks dedehansen. What a wonderful picture - a classic! Knowing, however, that this magnificent medal bar was at some time broken up, I must say that I cannot look at it without some regret. Can you imagine it.

 

Thank you again and I hope that you enjoyed a Happy Easter Season as well.

 

Wild Card

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I'll never understand the splitting of groups, the breaking of bars and the scattering of history.

Cheers to those who strive to correct this travesty.

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