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    1906 Carnegie Hero Fund Gold Medal, MS67
    Awarded to Harris G. Giddings
    Only 19 Gold Medals Awarded

    1906 MEDAL Carnegie Hero Fund Gold Medal, Harris G. Giddings, MS67 NGC. 280.04 grams. The Carnegie Hero Fund awarded bronze (awarded today), silver (awarded from 1904 to 1979), and gold medals (awarded from 1904 to 1923) for lifesaving efforts over many decades. According to the fund's website,, Carnegie heroes are those who enter into mortal danger to rescue others. The medal is described as "the highest honor for civilian heroism in the U.S. and Canada." Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), the famous 19th and early 20th century industrialist and philanthropist, established the fund in 1904. All awardees are identified at the website, including Harris Giddings, the hero of this gold medal:

    "Harris G. Giddings, 45, captain of city fireboat, helped to save Jacob Flyter, 30, from drowning, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 30, 1906. Giddings and two other men descended a 55-foot shaft and rescued Flyter, who was imprisoned in an air-chamber of a tunnel under the Milwaukee River, into which water was leaking."

    An article in the October 19, 1906 issue of the Racine Journal (Racine, Wisconsin) identifies the other two rescuers as Peter Lancaster and Lawrence Hanlon (whose gold medal resides with the Milwaukee Fire Historical Museum). All three received gold medals and $1,500 according to the newspaper. Hanlon's medal was appraised for $100,000 in 2016, the appraiser commenting: "And I'm probably low on that."

    Jacob Flyter was a labor foreman who was assisted by four laborers repairing a leak in a tunnel under the Milwaukee river. The laborers became frightened and deserted Flyter who was then trapped in the compromised air chamber. A dozen years later, Flyter completed his World War I draft card where he was employed as a Milwaukee tunnel worker. He recorded his name as Jakob Flejter. He was a native of Poland who apparently returned to Europe prior to his death in 1955.

    Captain Harris G. Giddings was born in 1861 and died on March 16, 1936. The Journal Times of Racine, Wisconsin reported on March 17, 1936:

    "Harris G. Giddings, 74, retired Milwaukee fire department captain and Carnegie medal winner, died at his home last night. He had been suffering from heart disease."

    This 22-karat gold medal that was awarded to Giddings for his heroic actions is a highlight of the present sale, and displays rich green-gold color with flawless surfaces. This is an extraordinary opportunity for the historic minded collector and public facility.

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2020
    3rd-9th Monday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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