medal
This South Africa Medal awarded to Isandhlwana casualty 1709 Pte Samuel Popple of the 2nd/24th Foot is estimated at £4000-6000 at the Fieldings auction on July 1.

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After the sale of a South Africa Medal relating to the defence of Rorke’s Drift in February last year, Fieldings Auctioneers of Stourbridge is now to offer another of these campaign awards.

The medal awarded to 1709 Pte Samuel Popple of the 2nd/24th Foot, a casualty of the Battle of Isandhlwana on January 22, 1879, is to be sold in the annual Mantiques Auction on July 1, along with further military medals and related items, with an estimate of £4000-6000.

In February 2016 the saleroom sold an example awarded to Rorke’s Drift survivor 1524 Private Joseph Bromwich of the 2nd/24th Foot for £39,500, nearly double top estimate. The buyer was a Midlands private collector.

The Popple honour has been consigned by an anonymous vendor, but Fieldings director Nick Davies confirmed that it was brought to the saleroom on the back of the hefty Bromwich result.

He added: “After that Rorke’s Drift medal was sold last year the vendor, buyer and Fieldings all got together and bought a headstone and had a dedication ceremony for the unmarked grave of the soldier that the medal was awarded to. It was a good day with the local mayor and some old soldiers and other characters.”

Not to mention good business: “We did have a good spread in the local press and this and several other medals have been consigned to us since.”

Rorke's Drift records

Last December, London saleroom Dix Noonan Webb offered a Rorke’s Drift South Africa Medal 1877-79 awarded to Private Michael Minehan, 2nd/24th Foot, which sold for £70,000. That result broke the auction record for a Rorke’s Drift medal set by the Fieldings result.

Just three months later DNW broke the record again, when the medal with clasp for 1879 awarded to Driver Charles Robson, who was batman to the commanding officer Lieutenant John Chard during the epic defence, sold for £110,000.

The lot was consigned by a direct descendant from the UK and it is believed that the medal was secured to offer by DNW because of the record Minehan result– success again bringing those further consignments.