World_Coin_Nut's Blog

13 May 2020

Abercromby in Egypt

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

I recently added another historical medal to my collection. When making additions I have some vague (only make sense to me) requirements. The most important is eye appeal, followed closely by historical importance.

The obverse of this medal certainly didn’t catch my attention. The name Abercromby didn’t ring any bells and the portrait is, well, just another dead guy. The classical look of the reverse is what caught my attention. The horse is beautifully done but having the Egyptian pyramids in the background sealed the deal. I immediately decided I had to have one and after a quick search of all the available ones online ended up back at the first one I saw.

After a bit of research, I realized it ticked off both requirements.
Sellers Description:

1801 Great Britain, British Army Arrives in Egypt, AE Medal, Mudie's National Series, Mudie-8, BHM-504, By Webb, Plain Edge. Deep toned brown bronze in color with some underlying surface reflectivity, couple small rim tics. Mudie's National Series of British Medals, published in 1820 by James Mudie and struck by Sir Edward Thomason's Manufactory in Birmingham consists of 40 different medals commemorating British military and Navy victories. The series is both important in history and design and was dedicated to George the Fourth.

Obverse: Uniformed bust facing slightly left
Reverse: Horse right before the Great Pyramids
Size: 41 mm

Sir Ralph Abercromby (7 October 1734 – 28 March 1801) was a Scottish soldier and politician. He twice served as MP for Clackmannanshire rose to the rank of lieutenant-general in the British Army was appointed Governor of Trinidad, served as Commander-in-Chief, Ireland, and was noted for his services during the French Revolutionary Wars.

In 1800 Abercromby commanded the expedition to the Mediterranean. After some brilliant operations defeated the French in the Battle of Alexandria, 21 March 1801. During the action, he was struck by a musket-ball in the thigh. It was not until the battle was won and he saw the enemy retreating did he show any sign of pain. He was removed from the field in a hammock, cheered by the blessings of the soldiers as he passed, and conveyed on board the flag-ship HMS Foudroyant which was moored in the harbor. The ball could not be extracted; mortification ensued, and seven days later, on 28 March 1801, he died.

I found the above description of his death a little odd. Even with the medicine of the time, a leg wound should not have taken the life of this man. It may have cost him his leg, but not his life. So, I dug a little deeper and now wish I hadn't. Calling it a leg wound must have been the "polite" way to describe his injuries. Suffice it to say, you don't want to know.
Abercromby's old friend and commander, the Duke of York, paid tribute to Abercromby's memory in general orders: "His steady observance of discipline, his ever-watchful attention to the health and wants of his troops, the persevering and unconquerable spirit which marked his military career, the splendor of his actions in the field and the heroism of his death, are worthy the imitation of all who desire, like him, a life of heroism and death of glory."

He was buried on St John's Bastion within Fort Saint Elmo in Valletta, Malta. The British military renamed it Abercrombie's Bastion in his honor. The adjacent curtain wall linking this bastion to the fortifications of Valletta, originally called Santa Ubaldesca Curtain, was also renamed Abercromby's Curtain.

In general, the Mudie series of medals is not scarce however the individual pieces have a wide range of prices. Certain pieces command higher prices based on the subject matter. Of course, the condition has a large effect on pricing. Occasionally full sets become available to purchase but that is far outside this collectors pricing comfort level. The set in the photo is not mine.





Level 6

Nice blog. Beautiful medal.


Level 5

This is a very nicely designed and struck medal. That and the historical significance should make it a winner in any serious collection! The proud horse defiantly strutting his stuff gives this medal what I like to call "an attitude." It very much portrays the United Kingdom's attitude concerning colonialism leading to the Victorian era phrase, "The sun never sets on the British Empire."


Level 5

Very nice medal and history. Looking forward to coin shows so I can look at medals. Thanks


Level 6

Well done blog. It makes want to find out more.. Beautiful medal and collection. Thanks.


Level 7

Excellant blog. I love the history of the battle. I guess when he was shot he knew it was over but brave to the end. I didnt know that. You have that xollection. Thats great. They all look like that horse. I love the horse with the pyramids in the back almost three D.great coin and story. Thanks it was interesting. .

It's Mokie

Level 6

Beautiful medal and compelling story, that's what makes this hobby so wonderful, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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