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A large collection of medals relating to Admiral Vernon, the British naval commander who became a popular hero in England and the American colonies, has been billed by the auction house selling it as one of the biggest ever put together.

The Merchant of the Islands collection contains more than 120 different varieties and will be offered in an auction of Coins, Tokens and Historical Medals at Dix Noonan Webb on April 24-25 in central London.

A rarity in the group at £600-800 is this unpublished and possibly unique coin above showing Admiral Vernon and the Capture of Portobello. The unsigned coin dates to 1739 and is made of ‘pinchbeck’ metal – a form of brass that closely resembles gold in appearance. It bears the motto brave Vernon made us free.

Vernon captured the Spanish port of Portobello (now in Panama) with only six ships in 1739. The feat made him a hero with many medals struck to commemorate it – more different medals were struck of Vernon than of any other 18th century Englishman.

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A four-piece china tea set that was used at a now-forgotten exhibition to raise money for the Suffragette movement will be offered at Chippenham Auction Rooms in Wiltshire on May 4.

The sugar bowl and plates were part of a larger collection designed by Sylvia Pankhurst, daughter of the leading light of the suffragette movement Emmeline Pankhurst.

The china was used at the two-week-long Women’s Exhibition of 1909, which raised funds for the Suffragettes in their quest to allow women to vote in elections. The display was held in the now defunct Prince’s Ice-Skating Rink in Knightsbridge, London.

The tea set, which features a trumpeting angel below the banner Freedom, was used in the refreshments room of the exhibition and was sold afterwards. It was made by HM Williamson of Longton, Staffordshire. The set is estimated around £1500.


Historic items relating to the Oxford and Cambridge boat race will go under the hammer at maritime specialist Charles Miller.

The collection of photographs, blades and pennants dates from 1859-65 and was owned by winning Oxford boat race crew members and brothers, George and Allan Morrison, who also captained the boats winning four out of five races. They were two of 10 children of entrepreneur James Morrison, who when he died in 1857 was described as the richest commoner in England.

The items have passed by descent and include winning blades from the 1859 and 1861 boat races, inscribed with the crew’s names, colleges, weights and positions (estimate £700-1000), Allan Morrison’s captain winning blade from the 1863 race (estimate £400-600) and a builder’s model of Oxford’s 1865 victorious rowing eight constructed by J&S Salter Builders of Oxford (estimate £1000- 1500). The sale will take place on April 30 at Olympia Auctions in West Kensington, London.


Cuttlestones’ May 3 Fine Art sale in Wolverhampton will include this watch from the so called ‘Dirty Dozen’ – the nickname given to the series of wristwatches commissioned by the Ministry of Defence from 12 watch manufacturers for use during the Second World War.

The military wristwatch was made by Record and features a black dial and engraved markings to the case. It comes with a spare movement and minor spare parts from a Welsh collection and is estimated at £1000-1200.