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Great Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mm

Great Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mmGreat Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mm
Great Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mmGreat Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mm
Great Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mmGreat Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mm
Great Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mmGreat Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mm
Great Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mmGreat Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mm
Great Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mmGreat Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mm
Great Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mmGreat Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mm
Great Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mmGreat Britain: Boer War National Commemorative or Absent Minded Beggar 45mm
Form: Circular. The silver medal is sometimes found with an attached suspension ring and privately engraved with the name of a British soldier.
By: F. Bowcher / Spink & Son, London
Date: 1900
Ref:  AM: 26; Hern: 68; BHM: 3680; Eimer: 1851; Fearon: 351.7; Laidlaw: 0043a;
Variations:
SizeMetalMassValue
45 mmSilver59.1 gm$210
45 mmSilvered Bronze$120
45.2 mmGilded Bronze 48.6 gm$120
45 mmCopper-Bronze$90
45.2 mmBronze (Mottled)44.4 gm$90
45.2 mmBronze45.4 gm$90
45.0 mmWhite Metal33.9 gm$70

Edge: Plain. Silver medal sometimes engraved.

Obverse: Full figure of a British soldier with rifle at the ready standing on rocky ground, head bandaged and helmet at his feet. To the right: “1899- / 1900”. Legend: “THE NATIONAL COMMEMORATIVE MEDAL”.

Reverse: To the left, a flag pole with the Union flag wrapped around an ear of wheat entwined with the national flowers of England (rose), Scotland (thistle) and Ireland (shamrock). To the right across: “THIS / MEDAL COM- / MEMORATES THE / MAGNIFICENT / RESPONSE OF / BRITAIN’S SONS / TO THE EMPIRE’S / CALL TO ARMS! / TRANSVAAL / WAR / 1899-1900”. Legend above and to the left: “THE QUEEN GOD BLESS HER”, and below: “DAILY MAIL KIPLING POEM”. The maker’s name: “SPINK / & SON” in small letters close to the rim on the left.

Notes: The sentiment in Britain at the outset of the South African War was strongly in favour of the military action. Thousands of young men volunteered for service to “Queen and Empire”. Charities were set up to assist them and their families. The proceeds from the sale of this medal went to Daily Mail for the Kipling Poem War Fund which is reported to have received 70,000 pounds sterling in fourteen weeks.

The image of the British soldier on the obverse is from the illustration by Richard Caton Woodville, Jr. (1856-1927) known as the “Gentleman in Kharki” and can be seen on a multitude of memorabilia from the period.

The silver medal shown here with claw and ring suspension has been engraved in capital letters on the edge: “TROOPER COLE. ROYAL NORTH DEVON IMPERIAL YEOMANRY.”. This was presumably presented to Trooper Cole in tribute for his war service during which he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. It was lot No. 799 on the Dix Noonan Webb auction of 13-14 Sept 2012 and sold for £230.