Medals honoring members of the Birmingham St John Ambulance Brigade for their service during the Boer War will be among lots offered at the Bonhams Coins and Medals sale in Knightsbridge, London on March 27th. The honors, sourced through the Bonhams Knowles office, will join others presented to Horatio Nelson's surgeon.The medals are expected to attract particular interest from bidders interested in British naval military history.

The top estimate lots related to the Birmingham St John Ambulance Brigade are medals awarded to George Finding, Private Thomas Walters and F.Lowe for their service to the Birmingham corps between 1899 and 1902 while stationed in South Africa. The recipients of the medals began their careers as part of the Birmingham City Police before being deployed to South Africa as ambulance bearers. It was while participating in the Boer War that that the men were recognized for their outstanding medical abilities. The medals remain in very fine condition and are estimated to fetch between £350-£550.

The impressive set of medals awarded to Nelson's personal surgeon, George Magrath, are estimated to sell for between £9,000 and £12,000. The medals were awarded for Magrath's work as Inspector of Hospitals and Fleets for the Royal Navy after he was personally selected by Nelson to be medical officer aboard the H.M.S Victory. In his letters to Lady Hamilton, Nelson describes Magrath as 'by far the most able medical man I have ever seen'.

Certainly, Nelson's high opinion of Magrath can be seen in the high number of decorations awarded for his medical expertise. The group of medals offered will include his Order of the Bath and a number of commendations for his service as naval general officer.


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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