A medal awarded to Major Jonathan Leslie Dean (1859-1926), a key participant in the Siege of O'okiep – £15,000 at Ramsay Cornish.

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A silver cigar box (Chester 1901) was inscribed to Major Dean: in recognition of his unvarying kindness, attention and assistance, to all Ranks while Stationed at O’okiep, wishing him Many Happy Returns of his birthday 13th January 1902.

A table lighter, made in the form of an oil lamp and hallmarked for Birmingham 1900, bore a similar presentation inscription.

The award he received is the Cape Copper Company Medal, a private campaign honour issued by a local mining company in 1902.

While the regular troops at O’okiep were given the Queen’s and King’s South Africa medals by the British Government, many of the civilian defenders (typically local black miners) were excluded. Instead the Cape Copper Company struck a medal of its own to be presented regardless of race or status.

Silver oil lamp lighter

Other items in the lot at Ramsay Cornish included a silver cigar box and ‘oil lamp’ lighter.

The bulk were struck in bronze and awarded to the rank and file. A small number of rarer silver medals, such as this example given to Major Dean, were awarded to officers and higher-ranking mine officials.

Estimated at £5000-7000 at the auction on July 13, it sold to an online bidder at £15,000 (plus 18% buyer’s premium).