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British Navy in Revolutionary-Napoleonic Wars


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A few years back I bought this medal at a Flea Market / Car boot sale fundraiser for the Surf Life Savers in Queensland. I paid AUD$30.00 for it.

I have had it appraised by three major medal dealers here in Australia. The first two said it was the real thing and gave me valuation certificates stating the value in excess of AUD$50,000. The third (just a couple of months ago) here in Melbourne made a show of weighing it for it's silver content and offered me $25 for it. Even rang their "expert" at another shop... They were trying so hard to be nonchalant about it, it was obvious that they were a bit excited. When I told them that the bronze version for petty officers and ratings sold at Christie's in 2002 (or thereabouts) for 30,000 pounds, they told me that they weren't interested. I wanted them to appraise it but even my mother who happened to be with me on the day, said that they didn't listen and thought I was trying to sell it.

I am 90% convinced that it is real. It is in excellent condition for something this old. The Battle of Camperdown was in 1797 between the Royal Navy under Admiral Duncan and the Dutch fleet which had been taken over by Revolutionary France.

Anyway, here it is. The ring and clasp were obviously added recently. I will have to get better photos but I shake too much.

Edited by Greg
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weights? measurements? Weights and dimensions will allow me to figure out if its silver.

You may have a winner, but frankly, you need to take this one to Spinks or one of the higher end auction houses. There are some Napoleonic navy experts out there , but they don't live here (I think). I suspect it's a later restrike-but....I don't know.

These were often drilled so as to be worn about the neck on a rawhide or silk thread. Not a few disappeared into pawn shops and into coin collections over the years, which is exactly where you'd expect to find them as they're obscure enough to be overlooked.

When I was a kiddie a guy next to me at a Jumble sale literally pulled out a Culloden medal from amidst a shoe box of bric-a -brac at a gymkana. It was probably a Victorian restrike-but...you never know.

Good luck!

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It is a commemorative medal, not an award medal and would have been purchased by collectors at the time, it is by Thomas Wyon, it comes in silver, bronze and white metal, it is not uncommon in white metal or bronze but is scarce in silver and is probably worth about ?150.


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T. Wyon Sr. x BHM 428; d'E. 742; Eimer 887 x England x 1797 x AE x 38mm.

I have been led to believe that there were no official "award" medals at the time. They were all privately designed and minted often by different makers for the same battle eg. Davison and Boulton and presented to the various participants. There were multiple medals for some battles and none for others. As such ALL the medals were "commemoratives" up until the Naval General Service medal was instituted in the 1850s and survivors of earlier battles received bars on their Naval General Service medal.

I have other Napoleonic Wars Naval medals which are most likely later copies but this Camperdown one is very different in style, feel and detail. I suspect it is a white metal rather than actual silver. I will have to weigh it at the Post Office. My scales aren't accurate enough.

I will post pictures of the other medals from the period but I have worked all night and sleep is my highest priority just now.


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My medal knowledge during this period is lacking. I'm still trying to figure out all the different uniforms.

London Times

Nov. 9, 1797

Several Naval Officers who yesterday at Court, were decorated with the Gold Medals given them by the King to commemorate the victory over the Dutch Fleet.

I'm not sure if these gold medals are of the same design. Nothing yet on any silver medals being awarded. I'll keep looking.



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me again....

London Times

June 28, 1798

The King has been pleased to grant to Lord Duncan, in consideration of his able and gallant conduct on the 11th of October last, his Royal Licence for him and his issue to bear in the center of the paternal arms a representation of the gold medal conferred upon him by his Majesty on the occasion of the victory of Camperdown, pendant from a blue ribbon, ensigned with a naval crown, and subscribed "Camperdown."

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