Commonwealth Naval Reward 1653

The Naval Reward medal authorized by Parliament was designed by Thomas Simon in 1658 and issued retrospectively to senior naval officers, who rendered distinguished service in campaigns against the Dutch between 1652-1654.

It is popularly known as the Blake Medal, named for Robert Blake, General at Sea of the Commonwealth of England, and one of the greatest of all British naval commanders. At the successful conclusion of the last naval battles of the First Dutch War under the Blake’s command, the Commonwealth struck three styles of gold medals for presentation to the senior officers involved: (1) the trophy version for Generals (Admirals) of the Fleet and Flag Officers (19); (2) the Laurel version to Senior Ship Captains (70) and the plain version to lesser ship’s Captains (80). Today only 3, 2 and 7, respectively, are known to have survived.

The first type was a gold, 58mm x 53.5mm, medal with a large border. The obverse depicts an anchor, from the stock of which are suspended three united shields, bearing the St George's cross of England, the St Andrew's of Scotland and a harp for Ireland all, encircled by a cable. On the stock of the anchor the monogram of T.S. for Thomas Simon. The reverse, based on Blake's victory, depicts a naval engagement. In the foreground there is a Dutch ship sinking and on the stern is the artist's name, SIMON, and on the bows of another his initials, T.S. A wide border of guns, a ship's stern and rigging are shown on the border of both obverse and reverse.

Commonwealth Naval Reward 1653 - Type 1

The second type of this naval award, AKA the laurel version, designed by Simon, was an electrotype oval, 51mm x 46mm, it resembles the first version except for a simpler and narrower border of laurel leaves. It was awarded to junior flag officers.

The third type, presented to Captains, was a gold oval, 39.5mm x 34.5mm, like the preceding versions except for its plain borders. The obverse features, in high relief, an anchor with line displaying three shields, the St George's cross for England, St Andrew's for Scotland and a harp for Ireland. The reverse depicts Blake's naval engagement against the Dutch with a ship sinking in the foreground. The stern of the Dutch ship sinking in the foreground is signed SIMON. Fitted with a loop.

Commonwealth Naval Reward 1653 - Type 2

Naval Reward Medal for Captains - Type 3

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