It provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of Huddersfield.
And now a unique collection of medals assembled by a passionate expert who spent many years searching for pieces in local jewellers, flea markets and second hand shops as well as well as specialist fairs, dealers and auctions is to be offered for sale.
The collection put together by the late Richard Law will be auctioned by Dix Noonan Webb, the international coins and medals specialists, in London on Tuesday, December 9.
Mr Law began his love of collecting when he was given an 1838 Victorian three-halfpence from his father in 1960 and that triggered his lifelong interest.
He was born in Huddersfield and throughout his life lived only yards from the house in Lindley in which he grew up.
Mr Law, who died on in February aged 70, was always a great collector and Yorkshire – and in particular Huddersfield – formed the heart of his extraordinary accumulation of pieces, many of which are very rare.
He began with coins, then became fascinated by postcards of Huddersfield, and from 1989 sought out local tokens, paper money and medals. It is the latter, including a wonderful selection of silver prize medals awarded by Huddersfield College, which will be sold in the Dix Noonan Webb auction.
“It takes patience, dedication and, above all, knowledge to put together a collection such as this,” said Peter Preston-Morley, specialist in tokens and commemorative medals at Dix Noonan Webb.
“Richard Law used his expertise to put together an unrivalled collection and kept meticulous records of his acquisitions.”
The Huddersfield College medals were awarded to prize-winning pupils in the 19th century. The college had opened in 1839 and from 1841 William Stansfield, MP for
Huddersfield, and John Sutcliffe and William Willans, two local wool merchants, agreed to sponsor prize medals. This tradition continued for decades and in 1874
William Mallinson, long-time Vice-President of the college, presented a beautiful medal for French, which depicts the college, to J.H. Hastings.
Another college award, the President’s Commercial Medal, has a stunningly attractive image of a three-masted schooner with barrels on the quay-side in the foreground. It was presented by William Williams to Alfred Hirst in 1859.
The gold James Watt Medal presented by the Huddersfield Engineers Training Association to H. Starkey in 1918 was bought by Law in Huddersfield Market in 2006. It is expected to fetch £250 to £300 while the college President’s Commercial Medal is estimated at £100 to £150 and the college French award and three other medals are in one auction lot and should sell for a combined £150 to £250.
Numerous other aspects of life in Huddersfield and elsewhere in Yorkshire are represented in the collection A selection of gold award badges presented by Huddersfield and District Amateur Bowling Association is estimated at £1,000 to £1,300, while a silver shooting medal awarded to Colour Sergeant Edwin Learoyd of the Huddersfield
Company of the 6th West Yorkshire Rifle Volunteers in 1861, is expected to sell for £100 to £150.
One lot includes a medal from the Holmfirth Photographic Society, another one from the Brighouse and District Sunday School Union and a third one
from the Bradford Wanderers Cycle Club.
Mr Law was born in Lindley in 1943 and on leaving school took a job in the textile business. He became a wool buyer and, after the industry’s decline, worked in the office of a local iron foundry.
He became President of the Huddersfield Numismatic Society and Treasurer of the Huddersfield Postcard Society.
Mr Law was also an accomplished gymnast and a very good amateur footballer. He was a keen supporter of Huddersfield Town although he rarely attended matches as he preferred to spend his earnings on a good coin or medal. He spent his holidays fishing in Ireland and even broadcast on Irish radio giving an insight into the local history of Kilkenny.