Be careful what you bid for. Here's a story about two distant relatives who unwittingly found themselves locked in a bidding war over the same medal belonging to an ancestor.
A "very rare" silver medal awarded to a Cornish hero who masterminded the rescue of sixteen seamen in two separate incidents off the Plymouth coast 160 years ago sold for £7,500 – more than treble the expected sum – at an auction.
Before the auction at Spink in London, the Royal National Institution For The Preservation Of Life From Shipwreck medal – presented to fearless Trinity House pilot Richard Eddey – had been expected to fetch between £1,500 and £2,000. But determined bidders were so keen to buy the medal that those cautious pre-sale estimates were swiftly overtaken.
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Mystery bidder buys rare medal for £7,500
A rare rescue medal awarded to a Cornishman more than 150 years ago sold for three times its auction estimate, after two members of his extended family unwittingly found themselves bidding against each other.
Trinity House pilot Richard Eddey, of Cawsand, was twice awarded the Royal National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck medal after he helped save the lives of 16 men in two separate rescues in 1824 and 1843.
His medal – with attached silver boat marking the second award – is one of only six examples in the country. So it attracted considerable interest when it went to auction, with a guide prices of £1,500 to £2,000, at Spink London two weeks ago.
After a bidding war it was eventually bought for £7,500 by Frank Williams – Eddey's great-great-great grandson – who had been determined to bring the heirloom back into the family.
What he didn't know was that he had been bidding against Julian Hocken – Eddey's great-great-great-great nephew – who wanted the medal for the same reason.
"I had learned about the medal's existence in 2000 from Peter Helmore, general secretary of the Orders and Medal Research Society who had just read my history of the Eddey family," 80-year-old Mr Williams, a retired managing director from Oxford, told the Western Morning News.
"He told me that the medal had been sold at auction for £1,400 at Spinks in 1995. I asked him to let me know if it ever re-emerged on the market and six weeks ago he alerted me to its forthcoming auction.
"I was determined to bring the medal back into the family after more than 160 years, but at the auction I was alarmed at the way bidding escalated, with just one person against me.
"I pressed on to my limit, and after the auction, with my finances severely depleted, I met my opponent.
"It transpired that he was Richard's great-great-great-great nephew, and equally determined to secure a family heirloom. We parted friends despite the expensive coincidence."
Mr Hocken said he already knew of his ancestor's exploits and was told by a friend that the rare medal was coming up for auction.
"I was obviously disappointed but when I heard Frank's story I was really pleased for him," said 40-year-old Mr Hocken, from the Isle of Wight, said. "Frank has done a lot of work on the Eddey family history and it obviously means a lot to him. I'm just very sorry that I cost him a bit of extra money."
To read the complete article, see:
Surprise for bidders after hero's medal is auctioned
Wayne Homren, Editor
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