A Group of Pattern and Specimen Waterloo Medals

Date of Auction: 18th July 2018


Estimate: £800 - £1,000

Waterloo 1815, pattern in copper by Wyon, 35mm, obv. laureate bust of the Prince Regent left, encircled by legend ‘George Prince Regent’, dated 1815 below the bust, the whole surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves, rev. with minor differences but otherwise as for the adopted design, exergue plain except for ‘T. Wyon Jun.’ in small letters, impressed on the edge in the official Waterloo style (* John Martin * 6th or Inniskilling Drag.*) very fine and very rare £800-1000


Provenance: John Tamplin Collection, Dix Noonan Webb, September 2002.

A John Martin did indeed serve at the battle of Waterloo with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. A weaver from Armagh, he was discharged to pension suffering from chronic rheumatism in December 1826, aged 38, having served a total of 21 years and one month, including two years service for Waterloo. It is unlikely, however, that he would have actually received this bronze medal in addition to his normal silver issued medal.

Tancred notes in his Historical Record, 1891, ‘For the following extract I am indebted to the valuable manuscript on military decorations by Mr. J. Fowler, of Brighton, viz., “When, however, some of the Copper Medals were coined, Mr. Pole agreed with the chief engraver that they would have a despicable appearance, and most of the specimens were consigned to the melting pot.”’

Three other named specimens of this proposed Waterloo Medal have been recorded. One, named “Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington, K.G. & G.C.B.”, was in the collections of Lieutenant-Colonel J. B. Gaskell and D. Hastings Irwin. Tancred says he was sent one for inspection by a Mr A. Skinner which was impressed “John Shaw, Mint.” The British Museum has two specimens; one, rather battered, is unnamed, and the other is impressed “Thomas Bostock Royal Horse Guards.” This man similarly served in the Royal Horse Guards at Waterloo.