Late last year I was in the National Library and came across what I think might be the only detailed account of the presentation of the medals. It is certainly the only account of Rostron's "speech to the troops", and mentions the various grades of metals involved in the
Here it is, makes a good read -
The Titanic Inquiry
The Presentation to Carpathia Heroes
(From our correspondent, Queenstown, Saturday.)
The Cunard liner Caronia arrived today from New York, bringing full particulars of the presentation to Captain Arthur H. Rostron of a massive silver cup and a gold medal recently in America, also presentations to each member of the crew of the Cunard liner Carpathia, who rescued a great number of lives from the ill-fated steamer Titanic.
The medals and cup were bought with a fund subscribed by those who were taken out of the Titanic's boats. In addition to the medals given, each of them will receive an extra month's pay from the Cunard Line.
The presentation was made in the Carpathia's saloon when she arrived from the Mediterranean by a committee, of which Frederick K. Seward of New York was the chairman. The other members of the committee were Mrs J.J. Brown, Lieutenant Steffansen of the Swedish Army, and N. O. Spedan, Carl Behr, J.G. Frauenthal, and George A. Harder.
Captain Rostron and his officers were in their dress uniforms, the former wearing the sword he is entitled to wear as a member of the Royal Navy Reserve.
The others, stokers and pantrymen, however, came up for medals dressed in the clothes which they wear on duty. The scene brought a mist before the eyes of many, and when Captain Rostron delivered a brief speech in answer to an address by Mr Seward, more than one person present seemed on the verge of tears.
After the way of good seamen, Captain Rostron disclaimed the chief credit for the work in saving those who were left helpless on a lonely sea when the Titanic went to the bottom. "Without an eager and brave crew," said Captain Rostron, "I feel there would have been no rescue at all; and while I thank for the committee for the cup and their praise of me and my officers, I want to thank every man and woman in my crew for their gallant and fine conduct under most difficult conditions. I am humbly proud of every man and woman in this ship's company."
It had been arranged that those who were to get bronze medals were to receive them after the gold and silver medals had been given to the officers, but at the conclusion of Captain Rostron's speech, the survivors committee decided that every medal on the table should be bestowed at once. Accordingly, the men and women from on deck and below were formed in lines and received their medals. Some of the firemen took their medals in hands so grimy as to seem hardly the hands of white men. But the smiles they wore made their black faces as luminous as suns.
Captain Rostron and his officers hurried from the saloon as soon as the last medal was bestowed, giving as an excuse that they had work to do and very little time in which to do it.
Cork Free Press, June 10, 1912, p.6.
(spelling as in original)
George Behe has one or two of the Carpathia medals. I was lucky to be able to see and hold one of them at a get-together we had here in Texas a few years ago. If you want to contact me privately, I can put you in touch with him.
There is one important factor in the price on that medal to be considered, the lot included a stunning 18ct gold pocket watch with the inscription "Presented to J. Richardson as a mark of appreciation for conspicuous service rendered RMS Titanic 15th April 1912". The lot comprised of this watch, the medal, photos and other paperwork. The watch alone was worth around £8000-£10000, so in all made for quite a reasonably priced medal in the purchase really!!
I am putting together the press release for the sale at the minute, so will post that when completed. We dont list the full prices realised on the website but I would be happy to look up a couple of numbers for you, just drop me an email with the details.
Indeed I did hear about the Liverpool auction, were you there?
I don't know whether you would be interested but I know of a reputable Medal Dealer who was advertising a transport medal. Not memorabilia as such but does have a connection with Capt. Smith it being one of the medals he was so proud of. Only 3000 were ever issued - for the China & Boer Wars, so they have gained a rarity value.
You can read about this medal under crew research - sub-thread Smith's medals.
You have to be very careful with Carpathia medals as there are many, many fakes. They are usually easy to spot.
Beware of any that have central additions, such as a name (usually of a bona fide crew member). These are generally "engraved later" to cover up for the fact that the embossed word COPY has been filed away from reproductions originally procured by the THS.
At the same time, however, a genuine one has sold on eBay for around $11,000 with its original Dieges & Klust box, which is very scarce. They were the New York makers.
One much-discussed Carpathia medal in the name of Evan Henry Hughes, Chief Steward, first appeared at auction in Sotheby's on July 7, 1998.
Lot 99, it was knocked down for £8,050 Sterling including buyer's fee. The Sotheby catalogue stated that it was "a piece of uncertain status lacking the usual reverse inscription in relief and therefore possibly a cast copy."
It was stated that it "seems likely that the present piece was prepared subsequently for Mr Hughes, perhaps as a private order," but added: "Its well-worn and re-mounted condition presents some difficulty..."
Its weight, at a shade under 15 grams was some 1.5 grams lighter than the gold medal awarded to Fifth officer Gustav J. Roth.
This gold medal was sold by Sotheby's of New York on July 29, 1997.
Lot 492 represents a World Record for a Carpathia medal. The Roth example was sold for $55,000 USD.
Re-casts from originals, which make convincing fakes, involve measurable shrinkage from the original size. So you have to be extremely careful.
Beware of all those that appear to be planed down for customized or named recipient inscriptions.
I don't have any such medal myself, but I know at least two people who bought accomplished fakes believing them to be genuine.
Once you have parted with your money, there is no comeback. Take any item considered for purchase to reputable assessors and valuers like Henry Aldridge & Co.
>>Are you sure it's definitely not Edward VI Â½ ?<<
Not sure of anything these days, Senan.
I would be worried about spending real money on a medal without good provenance. The going rate for a Transport medal is £650. Somewhere in a cupboard I have got a copy of the medal rolls for every one issued.
p.s. each medal is inscribed with the name of the recipient.