One of only 15 First World War meritorious service medals awarded to Canadians to cross auction block

A rare First World War meritorious service medal, one of only 15 awarded to Canadians, is expected to be the top highlight of Jeffrey Hoare Auctions’ Numismatic and Military Sale No. 128.

To be offered as Lot 408, the silver army medal is described by the auctioneer as being in Very Fine condition. It was awarded on May 14, 1919, to Sergeant Charles Edward Wilson and is impressed on the reverse with “104616 SJT C. E. WILSON. CAN: E.” The obverse features the left-facing effigy of King George V in his field marshal’s uniform alongside the legend “GEORGIVS V BRITT : OMN : REX ET IND : IMP :.” Its ribbon is crimson with white edges and a white centre stripe.

Wilson was born on Sept. 26, 1893, in Rangoon, India. He joined the 68th Battalion, a First World War infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, on Aug. 9, 1915, in Saskatchewan after two years of service as a cadet and two years in the County of London’s territorial force.

He served in France with the 1st Tramway Company, Canadian Engineers, and was discharged on April 25, 1919, in St. John, N.B.

The lot comes with a copy of Wilson’s service record, which explains: “This N.C.O. (non-commissioned officer) was walking along the banks of the river Avre on 22/8/1918 when he noticed that Sgt. Doan of his unit was carried out to deep water and in serious danger of drowning, as he could not swim. He immediately plunged in to the river, fully clothed, and swam to the drowning man and with the assistance of L/Cpl. Marchington, brought him to safety. His conduct was very gallant as the river was flowing at about 6 miles per hour and he was seriously impeded in his action by his clothes.”

Lance corporal Marchington was also awarded a meritorious service medal for gallantry for this rescue.

The lot has a pre-sale estimate of $1,200.

Other highlights of the two-day sale include “high-end” ancients; Canadian coins, tokens and Hudson’s Bay Company pieces; world coins, including early U.S. dollars; a 1938 Newfoundland Specimen set; paper money; and military medals and other militaria.

ANNUAL CAND CONVENTION

The more than 750-lot auction will be held in conjunction with the annual convention of the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND) on Jan. 26-27 in Hamilton, Ont.

Held at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel on 116 King St. W., the show will open to the public at 10 a.m. both days. The bourse will remain open on Jan. 26 until 4 p.m. and on Jan. 27 until 3 p.m.

Admission is $4 on opening day and free on closing day.

Early bird admission is also being offered on Jan. 25 after 4 p.m. for $60, which includes the entire weekend’s admission.

For more information, visit cand.org.

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