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Earl St. Vincent’s Reward, AV medal 1800

Earl St. Vincent’s Reward, AV medal 1800 (47mm.) by C. Kuechler after Flaxman, in gold braced lunettes all within a contemporary red velvet lined, brown leather box.

Uniformed bust of Adml. Jervis l., EARL ST VINCENT’S TESTIMONY OF APPROBATION 1800. Rev. Naval Officer and enlisted sailor shaking hands, with a backdrop of the Union flag, all within an oaken wreath. Box of brown leather with red velvet interior and two working catches. (BHM 489; E 019).

Good Extremely Fine (protected by lunettes), box sound and in undamaged condition.

When the British fleet under Admiral Sir John Jervis defeated a much larger Spanish fleet under Admiral Don José de Córdoba y Ramos near Cape St. Vincent, Portugal in February 1797, Jervis was made Baron Jervis of Meaford and Earl St Vincent and was granted a pension for life of £3,000 per year. Three years later he presented the medal above, but in silver and bronze, to those officers and sailors who followed him from his flagship ‘Victory’ to his next to the ‘Ville de Paris’, and remained loyal to him during the mutiny at the Nore (which involved over 10% of the seamen in the Royal Navy !).

A specimen in gold was presented to George III and is now in the British Museum and there is also another gold example in the National Maritime Museum – this specimen having the raised inscription around the edge reading: +(SOHO)+ STRUCK AT THE MINT OF MATTHEW BOULTON.

It is not precisely known how many gold specimens were made or whom else they were given – he did later give a few out to friends who provided him some service but the number is very small. We do know however, that the medal was designed by Lady Spencer and this fact is recorded in correspondence to her from Jervis in June 1801.

The unknown recipient of this piece obviously revered it and had it glazed and set in a gold brace that it could be worn without damage or wear and the box was specifically made to hold it.

It is excessively rare and presented in this way – in its contemporary lunettes, bound by a golden brace, the medal is not harmed and so is in pristine condition.

A very handsome and important piece of British naval history.

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