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  • Posts Tagged ‘Dix Noonan Webb’

    CORK SOLDIER’S ZULU MEDAL SELLS FOR £70,000 AT HAMMER

    Thursday, December 8th, 2016
    The South Africa medal awarded to Michael Minihan.

    The South Africa medal awarded to Michael Minihan.

    The Zulu War Medal awarded to Cork born Michael Minihan – one of the defenders of Rorke’s Drift in the Zulu War – sold for a remarkable £70,000 hammer price (£84,000 when auctioneers commission is added) at Dix Noonan Webb in London today. The pre-sale estimate was £26,000 to £30,000. Bidding quickly soared past the estimate and eventually it was a contest between a telephone bidder and a bidder in the room.

    “The defence of Rorke’s Drift, immortalized in the film Zulu, remains one of the most epic actions in military history,” said Will Bennett, spokesman for Dix Noonan Webb. “Medals to the 150 strong garrison do not come onto the market all that often and so bidders competed strongly to own this important reminder of the bravery shown by Minihan and his comrades.”

    The medal was bought by a British private collector bidding in the room. It was a record price for a medal to a Rorke’s Drift defender who was not awarded the VC.  Michael Minihan was one of 16 Irishmen known to be among the 150 strong British garrison which fought off an attack by up to 4,000 Zulu warriors.  No less than eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded for the defence of the mission station – the former trading post of Irish merchant James Rorke. The 1964 film Zulu starring Stanley Baker and Michael Caine was based on this battle.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for November 30, 2016)

    IRISHMAN’S ZULU WAR MEDAL AT AUCTION IN LONDON

    Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
    The South Africa medal awarded to Michael Minihan.

    The South Africa medal awarded to Michael Minihan.  UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £70,000 AT HAMMER

    The medal awarded to Cork born Private Michael Minihan – one of the defenders of Rorke’s Drift during the Zulu War in 1879 – comes up at auction by Dix Noonan Webb in London on December 8. He was one of 16 Irishmen known to be among the 150 strong British garrison which fought off an attack by up to 4,000 Zulu warriors.  No less than eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded for the defence of the mission station – the former trading post of Irish merchant James Rorke. The 1964 film Zulu starring Stanley Baker and Michael Caine was based on this battle.

    Minehan was the right-hand man in the front rank of ‘B’ Company, a soldier who knew his drill and helped maintain the discipline that held the embattled garrison together during the ferocious hand-to-hand fighting at Rorke’s Drift on January 22-23, 1879. He was highly regarded by his officers and received several testimonials of good character  including one from Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, his company commander, who won the VC at Rorke’s Drift. Born in Castlehaven, Co. Cork in 1845 Michael Minihan enlisted in the 24th Foot at Bandon in October 1864.  He saw service in India, South Africa and the Mediterranean.  In 1879 the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Foot was part of the British Army that invaded the then independent kingdom of Zululand. ‘B’ Company was detailed to garrison Rorke’s Drift, which had been turned into a supply depot and hospital. They thus avoided the fate of many regimental comrades who were killed when the Zulus overwhelmed a British force at Isandlwana.

    The victorious Zulus then headed for Rorke’s Drift where the tiny garrison, some of whom were hospital patients, found themselves in a desperate battle for survival. Minehan was posted in the cattle kraal, which formed part of the defensive perimeter and eventually had to be evacuated. Captain William Penn-Symonds, an officer in the 24th who was part of the force which relieved Rorke’s Drift knew the Irish soldier well and later wrote: “Minehan was a great pal of mine; he was right-hand man, front rank of ‘B’ Company, who knew his drill well and had often kept me straight.” The day after the battle Private Minehan, who was so exhausted that he could not speak, took Penn-Symonds to the corner of the kraal where he had been stationed. He indicated the body of a Zulu, partly hidden under the straw. During the siege the Zulu had crawled under the straw and grabbed Minehan by the leg. Minehan had thrust his bayonet into the straw killing his assailant.

    After his service in the Zulu War Michael Minihan was posted back to India.  In 1884 he contracted cholera, was sent back to England and discharged as medically unfit.  He died in May 1891 and is buried in Castletownsend.  The grave marker, a cross of wrought iron, was inscribed Michael Minihan, Late of the 24th Regiment and one of the gallant defenders of Rorke’s Drift. His campaign medal for South Africa 1877-79 with clasp 1877-8-9 is estimated at £26,000-30,000.

    The men of 'B' Company 2/24th Regiment who survived Rorke's Drift.

    The men of ‘B’ Company 2/24th Regiment who survived Rorke’s Drift.

    Michael Minihan is the man on the left in the circle.

    Michael Minihan is the man on the left in the circle.

    IRISHMAN’S POLAR MEDAL AT DIX NOONAN WEBB

    Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
    THE Polar Medal awarded to Timothy McCarthy from Kinsale who sailed to South Georgia in the Antarctic with Shackleton comes up at auction in London on July 22. The unique bronze medal awarded to the Royal Naval Reserve Able Seaman for the epic 800 mile journey across the sub Antarctic Ocean is expected to make between £15,000 and £20,000 at Dix Noonan Webb, the international coin, medal and jewellery specialists.
    McCarthy sailed with Sir Ernest Shackleton in the 20 foot long boat James Caird from Elephant Island to South Georgia in 1916.  The 16 day journey to get help for their shipmates from the Polar exploration ship Endurance became one of the greatest maritime stories in history. Shackleton paid tribute to his shipmate:  “McCarthy, the best and most efficient of sailors, always cheerful under the most trying circumstances and who for these reasons I choose to accompany me on the boat journey to South Georgia”.
    The Kinsale man was one of just 26 selected to crew Endurance, whose aim was to cross the Antarctic continent, a journey of 1,800 miles.  They set sail in August 1914.  The following January Endurance was held up by pack ice in the Weddell Sea and later that year, damaged by the pressure of ice, was abandoned and later sank.  The crew established base camp on an ice flow but as supplies dwindled it was clear that help would have to be sought.  Six men set out on the James Caird for South Georgia, where there were whaling stations.

    After their rescue McCarthy was sent back to Britain with Shackleton’s warm gratitude. He was almost immediately thrust into service aboard the armed oil tanker SS Narrangansett.  This ship was torpedoed and sunk off the south west coast of Ireland on March 16, 1917 and McCarthy was one of 46 sailors who lost their lives.

    UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £65,000:  THE ATHY, CO. KILDARE HERITAGE MUSEUM DEDICATED TO SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON WAS THE UNDER BIDDER.

    The Polar Medal.

    The Polar Medal.

    The James Caird being launched from the shore of Elephant Island in April 1916.

    The James Caird being launched from the shore of Elephant Island in April 1916.

    IRISH PATTERN COINS DOUBLE ESTIMATE AT LONDON AUCTION

    Sunday, June 19th, 2016

    Two rare Irish pattern coins designed in the 1920’s by Italian sculptor Publio Morbiducci for the competition to select new money for the Irish Free State in 1927 made double their estimates at a Dix Noonan Webb auction in London this month. The pattern half crown, estimated at £4,000-5,000 sold for £13,200. A three pence piece estimated at £2,800-3,200 sold for £7,200. The bronze coins were designed by Morbiducci (1889-1963) as part of his successful entry in the competition. Pattern coins are not approved for release. They are produced  for the purpose of evaluating a proposed design. These one were struck by Milanese medallists Lorioli Castelli.  It is not known how many survived.

    An Irish pattern half crown.

    An Irish pattern half crown.

    An Irish pattern threepence

    An Irish pattern threepence

    RARE IRISH £50 NOTE FROM 1928 AT DIX NOONAN WEBB

    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
    The Irish 1928 £50 note.

    The Irish 1928 £50 note.

    A rare Irish 1928 £50 note – one of only about 20 examples available to collectors – comes up at Dix Noonan Webb in London on April 11.  Estimated at £14,000-18,000  it highlights a strong selection of 100 Irish banknotes.  After the 1922 establishment of the Irish Free State a currency commission was set up to advise the government of a monetary system.    The first series of notes – with denominations from ten shillings to £100 – was issued on September 10, 1928. Only 10,000 of the £50 notes were issued and it is the most difficult to find. Around 20 of them are thought to have survived outside public collections.  The print run for the first £100 note was lower, but many more of them are known to have survived.

    Lady Hazel Lavery, wife of the artist Sir John Lavery, appears on all the notes. The new currency was linked to sterling.  Other rarities include a Royal Bank of Ireland £10 note from 1929 (£4,000-5,000), and two Central Bank of Ireland £1 notes from 1943.  During the Second World War Irish notes were printed in England and sent to Ireland. They were stamped with code letters so that they were easy to remonetize if the ship was attacked or the cash captured.

    A pair of war coded 1943 £1 notes.

    A pair of war coded 1943 £1 notes.

    A Royal Bank of Ireland £10 note

    A Royal Bank of Ireland £10 note from 1929.

    RARE IRISH GOLD COIN AT LONDON AUCTION

    Thursday, August 27th, 2015
    The Ormonde Money gold pistole.

    The Ormonde Money gold pistole.

    A rare Irish gold coin could make up to £100,000 at Dix Noonan Webb in London on September 15.  The Ormonde money gold pistole – Ireland’s only gold coinage – dates from the Great Rebellion of the 17th century.  Only 11 are known to have survived and nine of these are in museums and public collections.  Issued by the Duke of Ormonde, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, they were used to pay the Royalist garrison in Dublin.  The coins were minted using foreign currency, bullion, rings and chains.  Ormonde was the representative of Charles I in Ireland.

    This specimen is from the collection of Theo Bullmore, the British chartered accountant who rose to become managing partner in KPMG.  It will be sold along with the rest of a collection of Irish coins of the Great Rebellion 1642-49 built up by Mr. Bullmore.
    UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £78,000