A Victoria Cross medal and Princess Diana’s ‘revenge dress’ from The Crown

Noonans is selling a Ballinrobe man’s Victoria Cross while props and outfits depicting the British Royal family from The Crown are on sale in London

Fate can be a strange thing. Take the case of Edward (or Edmond as was his proper name) Jennings. One of three Mayo soldiers awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the Indian rebellion, the poor soldier ended up in a pauper’s grave in 1889, along with 190,000 other corpses in Preston Cemetery. In 1997, an appeal was launched to raise funds to mark the Ballinrobe man’s final resting place.

Now his Victoria Cross medal, part of the Simon C Marriage Collection of Medals to the Artillery, is expected to fetch between £20,000 and £30,000 (€23,397-€35,095) at Noonans’ Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria sale on February 14th in Mayfair.

After 25 years of service in India, 42-year-old Jennings was nominated by his fellow noncommissioned officers to be given the Victoria Cross, which is the highest and most prestigious decoration in the UK, for “valour in the presence of the enemy”. Two such crosses are known for Jennings: the one in the sale and one held by the Royal Artillery, which he sold off during hard times as he ended up as a road sweeper after the war.

While there is some conjecture as to the reason why there were two medals, it is believed the first was sent out to India for presentation. “But once that it was known that he was returning to the UK, Queen Victoria herself expressed a wish to personally decorate him with the V.C. at an investiture at Windsor on October 9th 1860, and a second cross was named up,” according to auction house Noonans.


However, Jennings’s ship was delayed, so he missed the ceremony, and it “seems likely that the Victoria Cross in Noonans’ sale is the one that was named up for presentation by Queen Victoria herself,” states the auction house. It was last purchased in 1980 for £5,500 by the seller.

A total of 1,358 Victoria Crosses have been awarded since they were introduced in 1856, but only three men have been awarded two, according to the Britain’s National Army Museum. By sheer technicality, Mr Edmond Jennings from Ballinrobe could well be considered a fourth.

Rare old pocket watch

As well as a collection of engagement rings and a number of Rolex watches, among the 380 lots at an upcoming sale at John Weldon of Temple Bar is a rare Irish 18ct gold pocket watch by John Donegan, Dublin 1881 (€3,000-€5,000).

Engraved with round towers, a harp and a shamrock, the case bears the inscription: “Presented to Wm Field Esq MP by his Dublin Fellow Traders as a Token of the High Esteem in which he is held and in recognition of the many able and brilliant service he has rendered them. August 1895″.

One of the biggest butchers in Dublin, MP William Field was defeated by Constance Markievicz of Sinn Féin by more than two to one in the general election of 1918.

The sale will take place on January 30th.

A replica revenge dress

In London on February 7th, Bonhams will sell more than 450 costumes, props and sets from The Crown in a live sale (currently open online). One of Netflix most prestigious and acclaimed shows, it had an estimated 73 million households tuning in to watch the series based on the British Royals.

One of the most iconic pieces in the sale is a little black number inspired by Princess Diana’s “Revenge” dress. It’s quite an estimate at £8,000-£12,000, considering it never touched royal flesh. Instead, worn by actress Elizabeth Debicki (as Diana) the off-the-shoulder frock is reminiscent of the garment she wore “in revenge” for Prince Charles televised admission of adultery. The original dress, apparently known by fashion editors as “her f**k you dress”, was designed by Christina Stambolian and cost £900. It later sold at auction in 1997 for £39,098.

Further sartorial offerings from the series include Queen Elizabeth’s coronation ordaining dress (£20,000-£30,000), and her powder-blue ball gown with pearl embellishment (£5,000-£7,000). A full length ivory wedding dress, with satin shoes as worn by Vanessa Kirby playing Princess Margaret, is expected to fetch between £6,000 and £8,000.

In the prop section, a reproduction of the gold state coach (£30,000-£50,000) and coronation chair (£10,000-£20,000) feature, as does a replica of the facade of 10 Downing Street. Complete with boot scrapers – but minus Larry the Cat, who now has over 800,000 Instagram followers – it’s expected to fetch between £20,000 and £30,000.

Donegal carpet hidden for 50 years in prime condition

On January 30th in New York, Sotheby’s has an early 20th-century Donegal carpet for sale at its Pleasure of Objects: The Ian and Carolina Irving Collection. Estimated at $5,000-$7,000 (€4,600-€6,500), the rug was inherited by the previous owner from his father, who was an antique dealer. This dealer, while restoring damaged library panelling for a client, discovered a sealed room, where the carpet had been stored for more than half a century. Because of this, it is in “exceptional condition with an extraordinary full pile,” says Sotheby’s.

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