Chicago Collector's Medals And Orders To Be Sold In London Auction Gallantry medals, Orders and Decorations collected by the late Peter Maren will be sold by specialist London coins and medals auctioneer Morton & Eden. The sale is on Tuesday July 2.
"The lifesavers managed to place all hands safely into the surfboat. As nothing could be done to save the wreck, they pushed off quickly back into the breakers and finally made the shore at about 4.30 pm. Even then the boat was too ice-laden to land so the survivors were carried ashore individually and the boat rowed further to a point where it could be recovered by horses and harness. The lifeboat crew had been under oars in the most hazardous and life-threatening conditions for most of a night and a day, and almost 60 miles".
The gold medal is estimated at $11,000-14,000.
Among the earliest - and most valuable - pieces in the Maren collection is a Commander's neck badge in gold and enamels awarded to Rear Admiral Henry Knox Thatcher on being made a Knight of the Ordfer of Kamehameha I by King Kamehameha V of Hawaii during the Civil War. It is estimated at $23,000-31,000.
Thatcher was the first U.S. Navy officer - and one of only three Navy recipients ever - to receive the Kingdom of Hawaii's senior Order. It was created in April 1865 for those who rendered great service to Hawaii, the Knight Commander grade being awarded 56 times. The Order was not awarded after 1886.
Born in Thomaston, Maine in 1806, Thatcher attended West Point briefly in 1822, but was appointed a midshipman the following year, He was appointed Commodore in 1862 and Acting Rear Admiral in January 1865, retiring in 1868 as a Rear Admiral. With extensive sea experience, he took command of USS Constellation on the Mediterranean Station in 1861, returning in 1863 to serve in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. He later succeeded Admiral Farragut in command of the Western Gulf Squadron before taking command of the Gulf Squadron (1865-66) and the Northern Pacific Squadron (1866-1868) until his retirement.
During the Civil War, he commanded a division in attacks on and capture of Fort Fischer and directed operations against Mobile, securing the surrender of the city and the Confederate Fleet, and the Texas Coast. It was while he was in command of the Northern Pacific Squadron, that he was honoured by King Kamehameha V of Hawaii, and was permitted to retain the decoration by a Resolution of Congress.
Admiral Thatcher was also a member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and Grand Army of the Republic. He died in April 1880 in Winchester, Massachusetts. Two destroyers have been named in his honour by the US Navy.
A Hawaiian Order of the Crown Commander's neck badge in silver-gilt, gold and enamels in the collection is estimated at $6,000-9,000.
Peter Maren was a graduate of Fenwick High School, Northwestern University and DePaul University College of Law. An avid fisherman and history scholar, he began collecting orders and medals in the late 1950s, stimulated by regular visits to Carl Subak's coin and medal store in Chicago. Youthful