16 November 2014

Seringapatam medal

Awarded to men who contributed to the British victory in the 1799 Battle of Seringapatam against the armies of Tipu Sultan. The medal was commissioned by the East India Company in 1801 but the Company's officers di not receive Royal sanction to wear the medal until 1815, whilst officers of the British Army did not receive permission until 1851.

Minted in gold, silver-gilt, silver, bronze and pewter. The majority of the medals were struck at the Soho Mint in Birmingham but some inferior Calcutta strikings of the gold medal (83 examples) and silver medal (2,786 examples) were minted in 1808 and awarded to native officers (gold medals) and native other ranks (silver). This went against the guidance for the issue of medals from the English mint.

English medals were 48mm in diameter whilst the Calcutta medals were 45mm in diameter. The two strikings also differ in that the English version carries the designer's initials CHK above and to the right of the exergue (see above detail from a gold medal) whilst the Calcutta version has the initials in the wrong order - CKH - and the letter K reversed (see silver medal example below).

The British lion triumphing over Tipu Sultan's tiger. The Arabic inscription in the pennant translates as The Victorious Lion of God. The date given in the exergue is IV MAY MDCCXCIX

A scene of the attack on the fortress of Seringapatam. The Persian inscription underneath translates as Seringapatam God given 28th day of the month Zikadah, 1213 of the Hegira.

Pale watered orange, 38mm wide, but also commonly seen with the same ribbon as that used for the Peninsular Gold Medal.

Issued without suspension but found with various types subsequently added.

Issued un-named, although some later engraved by the recipients.

None, although some medals have clasps added which bear the text, SERINGAPATAM.

Acknowledgements Dix Noonan Webb for information from past auction sales and the images which I have reproduced on this post.

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