Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The One That Got Away – Robert Edward Burnet Yelf

Medals seem to be a re-occurring theme at the moment as does Ebay, and it was interesting that the two came together over the weekend. I had been alerted to the fact that a WW1 medal and ribbon was up for sale engraved with the name of Lieut. R. E. B. Yelf. I had a look and already there was a bid for £5, just to get the ball rolling. The bidder seemed to be a medal collector so I was confident that I would be willing to go the extra to obtain it and I decided to leave it for a day or two as the auction had only just begun. The next day there was a new leader and then a third a couple of days after that. Judging by their recent purchases all three seemed to be either collectors or dealers and as I would be prone to forget to bid I decided to put in a maximum reserve of £25. This type of medal seemed to go for about £20 so I hoped that should be enough. Then I had an email from my brother telling me that I was bidding against him… Ooops! Anyway he crashed out at £16 so I hoped that would be that.

Sadly on Sunday and just before the end of the auction a new bidder took the price up to £25. I took it up a bit further – and so did they… In fact the bidding war finally went up to about £80 before I thought ‘enough is enough’ and sadly backed out, loosing the medal.

I then contacted the vendor and asked them if it was at all possible for them to send me some photos of the medal before they sent it off to the new owner. They very kindly replied, sending me some pictures and remarked that they were amazed that the medal went for so much – I guess I was unlucky in getting a competitor who hated to loose at auctions!

As you can see the photos are of very high definition and show up the detailing really well. Robert Edward Burnet Yelf was in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was a surgeon aboard the Hospital Ship HS Valdiva which was present at Gallipoli, so maybe the collector had a special interest in this campaign. Ah well, guess I’ll never know but it was interesting to get so close. Better luck next time!