You may not know the name James Sharman.
He was the man who carried the fatally wounded Admiral Nelson below deck during the Battle of Trafalgar.
The medal that he was awarded; a Naval General Service Medal, is back on the market four years after an last private sale where Yarmouth’s Nelson Museum tried to bid but was priced out of the auction.
It is now about to go on sale at a Cheshire auction house again, with a guide price of £15,000 to £20,000.
The current owner is a collector who specialises in Nelson and associated memorabilia, and has said “I’m not revealing how much I paid but it was a very substantial sum because Sharman’s medal is very special.”
And then, for the sake of good publicity; “I’ve had the great pleasure of owning it for the last four years but now I’ve decided to put it back on the market so another collector, or perhaps a museum, can have the pleasure of enjoying it.” *cough* show me the money *cough*
Yarmouth’s Nelson Museum can’t afford it as they are an independent charity and museum. Curator Hannah Bentley has said: “With that kind of guide price it’s just not going to be feasible for us sadly, we’ll be interested to see where it goes. I hope it goes to safe hands, it would be nice if another museum would be interested in acquiring it.”
Of Sharman’s remaining two medallions one has been lost and the other is currently owned by an American collector.
The Gibraltar Chronicle claims (credibly) to be the oldest continuously published English language newspaper in the world. However they will admit that the only real scoop they’ve ever had is when that packet sloop Pickle brought the first news of Trafalgar to British ears.
Auctioneers Peter Wilson will be selling the medal on July 11. TheEye does not have the clout to raise the money to bring the medal to a deserved home in Gibraltar…and so some mindless collector will have it.