Battle of Trafalgar medal under the hammer

Victorian Naval General service medal awarded to midshipman William Martin plus portrait photo

Victorian Naval General service medal awarded to midshipman William Martin plus portrait photo - Credit: Archant

A Victorian naval medal, awarded to mark action during the Battle of Trafalgar, is to be sold at auction.

The medal is for sale together with a miniature portrait of the sailor who received it and a photograph of him as a proud old man.

The collection is going under the hammer at Sworders’ Fine Art Auctioneers’ saleroom in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex on Tuesday (November 19).

The medal was awarded to midshipman William Martin who served on board HMS Minotaur during the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805. His ship played a significant part in the defence of Nelson’s HMS Victory and contributed to the fleet’s defeat of the French and Spanish ships.

William Martin, who was born in Cork, Ireland, was just 15 when he joined the navy and 21 when he served at Trafalgar.


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William Martin’s Naval General Service Medal, complete with Trafalgar clasp, comes with a miniature portrait of him in his naval uniform dating from around 1810, and a photograph of him as an elderly man wearing the medal.

The set is being auctioned at a guide price of £10,000 to £15,000.

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Sworders’ director, John Black, said: “This is a fabulous snapshot of military history with three pieces so closely linked to him and his service at the Battle of Trafalgar.

“It is quite unusual to have pieces such as this offered for sale together and we’re hoping this single lot will ensure that the record of William Martin stays intact.”

Sworders’ Autumn Country House Sale also includes a selection of significant paintings. An oil painting by Camille Pissarro entitled ‘Stratford-Upon-Avon, Sunset 1906’ is being sold at a guide price from £20,000. The signed painting was last exhibited in public in London in 1981 to mark the 150th anniversary of Pissarro’s birth.

An oil painting by the Italian artist Rubens Santoro is also being auctioned. The piece, called ‘The Cannaregio, Venice with the Palazzo Labia’ is being sold at a guide price of £20,000 to £30,000.

The sale starts at 10am.

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