Posted: 20 May 2019
Category: Company News
Medals Reveal An Unusual History
An unassuming Tupperware box revealed the life of an interesting gentleman. Whilst going through the contents of her parent’s house our client came across a box of medals and vaguely remembered hearing that her father purchased them from an antique shop in the 1950’s but was unable to discover too much about them. As these were all Civil rather than Military awards they were not engraved but fortunately there was one presentation document and a couple of black and white photographs of the recipient. Armed with his name the detective work could begin to ascertain why this gentleman, a Mr Franz Johannes Gunther, had received so many awards and orders, 16 in all, from such a variety of different countries.
We discovered that he was born in 1861 and served as General Director of the Anatolian Railway Company, the company funded by Deutsche bank and tasked with the construction of the Berlin to Baghdad Railway which, when ultimately linked to the port of Basra, would have enabled Germany to transport goods and oil across land from the Indian Ocean, thus bypassing the Anglo-French controlled Suez Canal. He died in 1937.
Many of the Orders were high ranking, often struck in gold and enamel and from countries ranging from Austria to Russia. They were sold as individual lots with estimates ranging from £100 to £1800. However, on the day of the auction, at a specialist coin and medal auctioneers, they made a staggering combined price of just under £19,000. The highest price achieved was for the Order of the Noble Bokhara First class Third Degree Star. This particular Order rarely appears at auction and sold for an impressive £5000.< BACK TO POSTS