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This famous award was instituted in 1943 by Maria DICKIN , who was the Chairlady of the PDSA (Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals). The purpose was to honour the work of animals in wartime. Remember that the second World War - 1939-45 - had been in progress for 4 years.

Terms of award were very strict and had to be authenticated - this quickly established the medal in the eyes of the public - as a Victoria Cross for animals - and it has remained so to the present day. In 1943 the award was only for animals in the armed services and in civil defense.

Between 1943 and 1949 only 54 medals were awarded - the Dickins medal was then suspended with War ended. However, in 2002, by Public demand it was re-instituted and the total of awards now stands at 63. Needless to say, the medals can bring very high prices when they come-up for sale.

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A few years ago, one of the most famous medals came-up for sale at Spinks. They wrote a brilliant description of the dog's story and had a good photo. I am going to print it out here - and I challenge you to be honest and admit if you had a small tear when you are finished ?

Before I do this, I want to give you some 'compulsory' reading on the cat who was on H.M.S. Amethyst in the Yangtze Incident. Go to Google - type-in Dickins Medals. No. 3 down is ' Simon of H.M.S. Amethyst. The only cat to ever receive this Award.

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An interesting and quite informative post Mervyn.

I've never looked for these medals on the market but I've also never seen any offered for sale, they must be quite scarce.

Thanks for taking the time away from the rest of your many duties to make this an even more interesting forum than it already is.



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I attended the Spink sale that included the Dickin Medal to Simon the Cat, HMS Anythyst. A pet food company had sent two young women to represent them in the bidding. A break was called just before the Dickin Medal came up so the press and news cameras could be ready. The auction restarted with cameras rolling and the bidding took off. The two young women simply held up their bidder's card until everyone else fell to the wayside, winning the lot in short order. When the press tried to interview the young women, it was immediately clear that they had no idea what they were bidding on, but were simply following directions. It was a bit of an anti-climax after several days of buildup in the press and the extensive write-up Spink had done.

More recently there was a Dickin Medal to a WWI messenger pigeon. The medal was in a glazed box with the stuffed pigeon. It was the only situation I can recall where you could buy the medal and the recipient.

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