A fine Collection of Life Saving Awards

Date of Auction: 12th December 2012

Sold for £170

Estimate: £150 - £200

Royal Humane Society, large bronze medal (successful) (Elias Wannell, Shipwright, Vit. ob. Serv. D.D. Soc. Reg. Hvm. 2 Dec. 1865) fitted with ring suspension, good very fine £150-200


It is recorded in the R.H.S. Annual Report for 1866:

‘That the courage and humanity displayed by Elias Wannell, in having on 2nd December, 1865, jumped into the Basin, at Devonport, to the relief of William Spiller who had fallen therein, and whose life he saved, call forth the sincere Thanks of this Committee, which are hereby presented to him inscribed on Parchment.’

Whilst the award by the Royal Humane Society of a Parchment to Wannell is recorded (above), the award of a medal is not. A letter from the R.H.S., dated 1996, speculates as to whether the recipient took it upon himself to ‘upgrade’ his award.