World Coins

Copper relic medal from Viscount Nelson’s ship in auction

A copper relic medal from 1897 depicts the HMS “Foudroyant,” earlier the flagship of Horatio Nelson when a viscount.

Images courtesy of Emporium Hamburg.

Adm. Lord Horatio Nelson may very well be the most famous British naval officer of all time.

A bronze medal depicting him and his flagship HMS Foudroyant, made from metal recovered from the ship after it wrecked, is among Emporium Hamburg’s May 2 to 5 auction in Germany.

The copper medal is known as a relic medal, for being made as a relic from the ship itself. The inscription on the reverse identifies it as such, including the phrase MEDAL STRUCK FROM COPPER OF VESSEL AFTER BREAKING UP.

Launched in 1798, HMS Foudroyant served then-Viscount Nelson as his flagship from June 6, 1799, until the end of June 1801. Nelson would meet later fame at the Battle of Trafalgar, in 1805, where he died.

HMS Foudroyant, however, would remain in service in various training and dock-side capacities until 1891. The ship was later restored and exhibited, and could be toured for a small fee. During this stage in life, the ship wrecked in Blackpool, England, June 16, 1897 (a date recorded in the lengthy text on the reverse).

Some amount of metal was recovered and used for these medals, which are cataloged as Eimer 1813 in British Commemorative Medals and Their Values.

The medal weighs 28.21 grams and measures 38 millimeters in diameter.

The admiral appears on the obverse of the medal, and Foudroyant appears on the reverse.

The auction house grades the medal as Very Fine and assigned an estimate of €50 (about $55 U.S.).

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