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Research Coins: Printed Auction


The Battle of Lowestoft
For Distinguished Service

CNG 103, Lot: 1248. Estimate $50000.
Sold for $42500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

STUART. Charles II. 1660-1685. AV Medal (63mm, 201.6 g, 12h). Battle of Lowestoft. By J. Roettiers. Struck 1665. (star) CAROLVS · SECVNDVS · D · G · MAG · BRI · FRAN · ET · HIB · REX, laureate and draped bust right / Charles standing facing, head left, holding batton in right hand, naval battle in background; · PRO · TALIBVS/ · AVSIS ·. MI 503/139; Eimer 230; Van Loon II, p. 526. EF, toned. Extremely rare in gold.

Ex "A Fine Collection of British Commemorative Medallions” (Sotheby's, 9 March 1989), lot 93; Greta S. Heckett Collection (Sotheby's, 25 May 1977), lot 218.

This spectacular medal was awarded to those officers who had distinguished themselves in the Battle of Lowestoft, the first major naval engagement of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. War was declared in March 1665 after a period of mounting hostilities between colonial forces of the two countries including, most notably, the capture of New Amsterdam (later renamed New York) by the English in August 1664. On the 13th of June a Dutch fleet, commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam, engaged the English under the command of Charles II’s brother, James, Duke of York, later James II. Despite having the weather gauge and out-gunning their opponents the Dutch failed to maintain the line of battle and were defeated with the loss of 17 ships and over 2000 men including van Obdam, killed when the magazine of his ship the Eendracht exploded. The victory was widely celebrated in England. A national holiday of thanks giving was declared for the 20th of June. Sir Peter Lely was commissioned to paint the Flag officers who fought at the battle among whom was William Penn, Captain of the Fleet to the Duke of York, and father to the colonist of the same name.

The medal continued to be awarded to men who distinguished themselves in naval actions later in the reign of Charles II. Surviving specimens in gold, stuck to the weight of 20 Guineas (without mount) and presented to officers of the rank of Captain and above are extremely rare: perhaps no more than five specimens being known.