Battle of the Nile Naval Gold Medal to Davidge Gould, £100,000 at Noonans.

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His Post Captain’s Naval Gold Medal awarded for service as captain of the 74-gun HMS Audacious at the Battle of the Nile in 1798 took a top-estimate £100,000 in Noonans' (24% buyer’s premium) sale on January 18, bought online by a private collector.

It was consigned by a collector, with a provenance to the Hamilton-Smith collection; Glendining, November 1927; W Waite Sanderson collection, Glendining November 1941; Glendining September 1991.

Gould had also been embroiled in the controversy around Lord Nelson’s affair with Lady Emma Hamilton.

Very few survive

Christopher Mellor-Hill, head of client liaison at Noonans, said: “The Gold Medal speaks for itself in that very few of these ever come on the market having survived being melted down for their gold content. They were only awarded to the captains of the HMS ships in such important and successful naval actions.”

The Naval Gold Medal was instituted in 1795 after Lord Howe’s victory at ‘the glorious First of June’ and awarded until 1815. Large versions went to admirals and small ones to captains and they were awarded for individual actions. The total given to captains is 117.

Fourteen small and one large medal (to Nelson) were awarded for the Battle of the Nile. Gould had sailed Audacious inshore of the French line and took Le Conquerant after a desperate close-range fight, then helped batter Guerrier and Spartiate into their submissions.