RMS Carpathia Medals

On the evening of April 15, 1912, Harold Cottam was sitting in the Carpathia's radio room when he heard the unbelievable, Titanic's distress signal. During the next three and a half hours, Carpathia made its way to the Titanic's location navigating the dangerous ice fields. Upon arrival, the found the unsinkable ship had gone to the bottom two hours earlier. Discovering the lifeboats, Carpathia spent the next four hours rescuing 705 passengers. After some indecision as where to land, it was decided to head to New York harbor where it arrived on Thursday evening, April 18.


RMS Carpathia


The grateful survivors, through the Titanic Survivors Committee, commissioned a medal for the officers and crew of the Carpathia. Known as the Carpathia Commemorative M or simply the Carpathia Medal, the obverse featured a starboard view of the Carpathia sailing amongst icebergs with the lifeboats of R.M.S. Titanic in the water. The obverse is bordered with dolphins and surmounted by Neptune's head with a flowing beard. At the base of the obverse is a crossed anchor and staff. The reverse is inscribed, PRESENTED TO THE CAPTAIN OFFICERS AND CREW OF RMS CARPATHIA IN RECOGNITION OF GALLANT AND HEROIC SERVICE FROM THE SURVIVORS OF THE SS TITANIC APRIL 15TH 1912 DIEGES & CLUST NY. (maker's mark). Senior officers, including Captain Rostron, were given 14-karat yellow gold medals, junior officers received silver medals, and the crew received bronze medals. In total, 304 medals were awarded, 14 gold, 110 silver, and 180 bronze. Based on commentary, there may have been a small number, which were not awarded.


Gold, Silver, and Bronze Carpathia Medals


Reverse Inscription and Captain Rostron's Knight Commander of the British Empire (pre-1937)


Values for the original medals range from 5,000 bps for a bronze medal, 8,000 bps for a silver medal, and 18,000 to 25,000 bps for a gold medal. Copies exist, but the provenance of the originals are generally accurate.


Sir Arthur Henry Rostron's Congressional Gold Medal


Captain Rostron was knighted as Knight Commander of the British Empire during January 1919 by King George V. He was later a guest of President William Howard Taft at the White House, where he was presented with a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor the United States Congress could confer upon an individual.

In a sad postscript, Carpathia was sunk on July 17, 1918 after being torpedoed three times by the German submarine U-55 off the southern Irish coast with a loss of five crew members.


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