Don't look now, but here comes another numismatic connection to Warrnambool, Australia. Readers may recall the totally non-numismatic item from a couple weeks ago about the gentleman who generated 40,000 volts of static electricity with his nylon jacket and wool shirt. Darren Burgess then chimed in about the Tradesmen's Tokens of William Bateman of Warrnambool. And now this new article brings a connection to the U.S. - a lifesaving medal awarded by the U.S. President.
A RARE medal awarded by the president of the United States to rescuers of an American ship off the south-west Victorian coast more than 130 years ago has been donated to Warrnambool.
It will go on permanent display at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, along with other memorabilia from the Eric the Red shipping disaster.
The medal was awarded to the crew of the Warrnambool steamer SS Dawn, who rescued survivors of the ship which struck a reef off Cape Otway in 1880 while carrying cargo to Melbourne for an international exhibition.
Four people on the US vessel drowned and the 23 survivors were taken to Warrnambool to recover.
Later the US government expressed its appreciation to the Warrnambool community, saying “the city hosted and supported the crew most graciously”.
The family of one of the former SS Dawn crew members approached Flagstaff Hill, offering to donate the bravery medal.
“We received the medal this week and will look to display this rare item with artefacts we have from the Eric the Red wreck that are in storage,” maritime village manager Peter Abbott said.
“We’ve got a door and part of the wheel from the wreckage.”
Heritage Victoria has listed Eric the Red as one of the state’s most significant 19th century shipwrecks.
Interesting! I wish we had a better image of the obverse, or any image at all of the reverse. This appears to be an example of an 1880 State Department medal, cataloged as LS-3 (page 322) of R. W. Julian's book, Medals of the United States Mint: The First Century 1792-1892
. The reverse is mostly blank for engraving, surrounded with a thin wreath. It was designed by George Morgan and struck in gold, silver and bronze. The one pictured here appears to be silver.
Can anyone tell us more about these, or the awarding of this particular example?
To read the complete article, see:
US president’s reward to south-west shipwreck heroes
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
TOKENS OF WILLIAM BATEMAN OF WARRNAMBOOL, AUSTRALIA
AN AUSTRALIAN MAN'S SHOCKING STATIC JACKET
Wayne Homren, Editor
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