Darren Burgess writes:
Following on from your request on the Eric the Red Lifesaving Medal on display in Warrnambool in Vol 16, No. 28, Article 27 regarding better pictures and more information on the medal I've finally had the chance to pop down to the Flagstaff Museum yesterday (it's a 4 hour drive from Melbourne, but worth it) and they told me the story of the acquisition (a donation from a relative of one of the crew of the SS Dawn) showed me some stunning digital photos (the medal is currently in a safe, but will go on display soon) and informed me that they've uploaded more information and photos of the medal on to the Collections Victoria Website. The museum were keen to get more information on other medals of this type and a possible valuation.
The earlier E-Sylum article gets a mention in the museum's lengthy writeup on the medal. There are two nice photos of it, shown below. Click on the images to see larger versions on our Flickr archive. Can anyone provide more information on these medals for the Flagstaff Museum in Warrnambool? Below is an excerpt from their web page.
“PRESENTED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES” around the perimeter of the obverse of the medal.
“TO / Nelson Johnson, / seaman of the British, / str “Dawn”, for bravery, / at risk of life, / in / rescuing the crew of / the American Ship / “Eric the Red.”
“M” on obverse, truncation of the portrait
This medal for bravery, for rescue of the crew from the shipwreck “Eric the Red” on 4th September 1880, was awarded to one of the crew of the steamer S.S. Dawn by the President of the United States in July 1881.
The medal is engraved with the name “Nelson Johnson” (the anglicised version of his Swedish name Neils Frederick Yohnson). It was donated to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in 2013 by Nelson’s granddaughter. Nelson had migrated from Sweden to Sydney in 1879. The next year in 1880, aged 24, he was a seaman on the steamship Dawn and involved in the rescue of the survivors of the Eric the Red.
The medal’s history, according to the Editor of ‘E-Sylum’ (the newsletter of the The Numismatic Bibliomania Society “… appears to be an example of an 1880 State Department medal, catalogued 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, chief engraver for the Philadelphia Mint, and struck in gold, silver and bronze. The one pictured here (in The Standard newspaper, 2nd July 2013) appears to be silver.”
To read the complete description on the Collections Victoria Website, see:
Medal for bravery, Eric the Red rescue
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
ERIC THE RED LIFESAVING MEDAL ON DISPLAY IN WARRNAMBOOL
Wayne Homren, Editor
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