Over the years, on many occasions we at Medals Gone Missing have heard ‘medal and militaria’ dealers remark “Well, the family did not want the medal and that is why they sold it to me”. However that is often not the case at all. Especially if that particular medal is sold by an elderly member of the family who can easily be manipulated or confused. On the other hand, sometimes one “cousin” within a family may sell a set of family medals without telling the extended family (other cousins) that the medals have been placed on the open market. The other family members then spend a great deal of their lives, trying to get those medals back!
One such case is the missing Waterloo Medal awarded to James SPARKES who served in the British Army during this action. A descendant who now resides in Australia, of James SPARKES contacted MGM and stated “My grandmother was in possession of the medal of which James was her grandfather. Unfortunately she sold it to a collector or dealer in Sydney in the 1980’s and it breaks our heart to think that our grandmother thought she needed the money and had to sell the medal”. The medal was sold for a measly $50 AUD and whilst the medals market was vastly different back then …. I still cannot help but form the opinion that perhaps this “purchaser” knew they were getting the deal of the century!
As with most Waterloo medals, the name of the recipient is engraved on the edge. This descendant went on to say “We believe that our great, great grandfather’s medal could be inscribed ‘James Sparkes’, however I have a memory that the medal may in fact be inscribed ‘Footman Sparkes’. It would be wonderful if whoever has this medal would consider selling it back to our family and we sincerely hope to hear back from the collector who has the medal in their safekeeping”. So if you have owned or seen a medal engraved “Footman Sparkes” …. or “James Sparkes’ then we would love to hear from you.
If you are a collector who has this medal in your collection, it is asked that you kindly consider selling the medal back to the descendants of James SPARKES. The family has indicated they are well aware of the commercial value of the medal and hold no illusions that they will not be able to purchase it back for the same price that it was sold. At the very least, it would be very sporting if the person who has this missing Waterloo Medal informs MGM that the medal is safe and that they will give this family first option, should they decide to sell it in the future.