1920 Gold Lifesaving Medal
A beautiful medal, but more importantly a significant artifact memorializing important events, touching the lives of real people, and, by definition, unique.
Presented to a Mr. R. O'Connor, Second Steward of the British Steamship Salacia, in 1920 by then President of the United States Woodrow Wilson. The reverse specifically and uniquely engraved to recognize Mr. O'Connor's long-ago act of heroism.
In November of that year, O'Connor was aboard the cargo ship Salacia, 11 days out of Liverpool bound for Georgia, when they came upon the stricken American Schooner Motawoc. He and four other British sailors fought 60 foot waves to draw alongside, board and bring the American vessel under control. At the time of the rescue, the Motawoc had 13 feet of water in her hold and faced imminent disaster. Five days later the Salacia and her fortunate passengers safely reached North Carolina.
When news of the rescue reached President Wilson he ordered that a gold medal be awarded each of the five rescuers, including Mr. O'Connor, and it his medal that is offered here.
Numismatically, the piece is stunning, with an obverse wholly reminiscent of the Coiled Hair Stella, nearly fully prooflike surfaces and impressive flash and luster.
Accompanied by a maroon leather jewelry-style presentation box lined in lavish purple satin which appears to be of the period, though we cannot verify with certainty that it is the actual, original box.
In all, a piece which by all rights should be in a museum, but which is here available for private purchase.
This coin is from the CRO archives and is not currently available for sale.
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