Rare gold Governor General’s Medal vanishes in mail

By Hans Niedermair

A 1928 nine-karat gold Governor General’s Medal has been lost in the mail.

Collector Albert Meyer, who purchased the medal from Jacob Lipson Rare Coins in Ottawa, says the package arrived at his St. Albert, Alta. home via Canada Post’s Xpresspost service along with a few other numismatic purchases from other dealers.

A hole in the envelope quickly led to a grim discovery.

Lipson told Canadian Coin News the envelope was securely packaged, with a total of four layers of material around the medal, which was stored safely in a vinyl flip.  “The way the medal was extracted from the packaging suggests the person who did it knew what they were doing,” he added. “It was a professional job. Even the packaging was carefully re-sealed.”

Both Meyer and Lipson have contacted their respective Canada Post offices in Edmonton and Ottawa, which are investigating the medal’s disappearance. Lipson also notified the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND), which has alerted its members about the possibly stolen item. Dealers in the Ottawa area were also contacted and made aware of the medal’s disappearance from the mailed package.

The envelope was shipped from Ottawa on Jan. 27 and arrived Feb. 1.

Meyer, who paid $2,295 plus tax and shipping for the medal, suspects foul play in the nation’s capital.

“If you look at the tracking number, you can see that no one processed it at the post office in Ottawa,” he said. “The first scan (of the envelope) you’ll see was done in Edmonton.”

The medal is 50 millimetres in diameter with a plain edge. It was awarded by Freeman-Freeman Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon, who served as Canada’s governor general from 1926 to 1931.

The medal’s obverse depicts a portrait of the governor general and his wife, Marie Adelaide Freeman Thomas, surrounded by a legend identifying their titles. The reverse depicts the Willingdon coat of arms with the motto “Honesty is the best policy.”

The reverse depicts the Willingdon coat of arms with the motto “Honesty is the best policy.”

Only 40 of the gold Willingdon medals were struck, by Mappin and Webb in Birmingham, England.

“The positive thing about this is that Mr. Lipson has managed to find a replacement gold medal for me,” Meyer said. “The difference is that this one has been awarded to a student at the University of Alberta for scholastic achievements.”

His replacement Willingdon medal includes “a case that identifies who it was awarded to and where. It’s a lot more desirable.” The missing medal did not include identifiers as to its recipient.

Anyone with information on the missing medal is asked to contact Jacob Lipson at 613-777-2115 or by email at  jacoblipsonrarecoins@gmail.com OR, contact the Ottawa Police Service at 613-236-1222 and state police report #: T22002022.

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