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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

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Many of us with narrow collecting themes often encounter records indicating a one of a kind award to our theme. It's these awards that we never expect to obtain for our collections. The odds of finding them are just to great and surely if the medal is floating around it would end up in a museum (regimental or public). Well let my story provide some hope to you all.

At the end of April a militaria auction was held in Western Australia. I had never before heard of the auction nor do i often search Australian dealer lists as my collecting theme is medals to men from my home town of Medicine Hat Alberta (Canada) and its affiliated units. Yet two days before the auction was to take place I was trolling through the auction listings and came across two Canadian pieces the first a colonial auxiliary forces long service medal to a unit located in Ontario and the second the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officer's Decoration to Lt. Col. J. D. R. Stewart O.B.E. S.Alta.Regt..

It was this decoration that made my jaw drop. There on the computer screen before me was my Holy Grail. The only such decoration ever awarded to the unit was up for auction. As Canadian collectors can attest competition for rare and unique pieces can be quite intense and so i prepared and placed a hefty pre-auction bid. A little under 48 hours later i was laying in bed with the live auction app running following along with the auction. The bile in my stomach turning at the thought of not being able to keep pace with the bidding and losing out on this Hens tooth playing over and over in my head. Then it came to my lot.... The lot opened with my starting bid quickly a second bid pushed up the increment, but was quickly countered by a second increment from my earlier bid and then i waited. It seemed like the hammer was hovering for ages and then..... fair warning ..... Sold!.... I had secured my lot without the fierce competition i had anticipated.

Just under 2 weeks later a package fresh from the land down under arrived at my door. I can proudly say Colonel Stewarts decoration has found itself a distinguished place of honour among the other pieces in my collection and i look forward to writing a very interesting article about the man and the medal in the near future.

So let this story give hope to you collectors out there searching for the "one of". It's out there and you just never know where and when it could turn up.





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Well done, as Chris says nice to see a piece of history returning home, look forward to your write up and any information as to how the medal ended up in Australia.


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Congratulations!  History aside, I have always thought that this is one of the more attractive awards the British system created and if I'd ever owned one I suspect i still would!  

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