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Medal - Sinking of SMS Emden by HMAS Sydney, Western Australia, Australia, 1914 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 20937

Medal issued to commemorate the sinking of the SMS Emden by HMAS Sydney. Emden was a German cruiser that formed part of the German East Asiatic Squadron early in World War I. It stalked Indian Ocean shipping routes and became the scourge of Allied naval ships. HMAS Sydney surprised the Emden while it was attacking the British radio station on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and badly damaged it. The Emden was deliberately run aground. The Emden lost 134 killed and 65 wounded; the Sydney lost 4 killed and 12 wounded.

The medals issued incorporated a portion of the Mexican silver dollars recovered from the Emden. They were presented to the captain of the Sydney, staff on the Cocos Islands, the Admiralty, the Australian War Memorial and other 'approved' Australian museums. The remainder were sold to the public as souvenirs and money accrued about production costs were to go to the RAN Relief Fund.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 1976
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 62 mm (Height), 39 mm (Width)
Dimension Comment: 39 x 62mm

More information

Tagged with: wars conflicts, world war i 1914-1918, i also have one of these medals as my father bernard neil goldsmith roberts was on the hmas sydney when it sank the emden
Themes this item is part of: Public Life & Institutions Collection, Transport Collection, The Royal Australian Navy, W. Kerr, Mint, Medal Makers, Sydney, New South Wales
Primary Classification: MEDALS
Secondary Classification: Commemorative
Tertiary Classification: military history
Series: Commemorative
DateEra: 1914 AD
Obverse Description: Mexican Eight reales from the wreck mounted under looped crown on NOV 9 1914 / HMAS . SYDNEY . SMS . EMDEN
Reverse Description: Attachment stamped W. KERR / SYDNEY Coin: : Cap of Liberty surrounded by rays of sun, three chop marks- one on cap around below; *8 R.M.1888.M.H.10Ds.20Gs.
Edge Description: Milled
Inscriptions: Milled (edge)
Mexican Eight reales from the wreck mounted under looped crown on NOV 9 1914 / HMAS . SYDNEY . SMS . EMDEN (obverse)
Attachment stamped W. KERR / SYDNEY Coin: : Cap of Liberty surrounded by rays of sun, three chop marks- one on cap around below; *8 R.M.1888.M.H.10Ds.20Gs.(reverse)
Shape: Irregular
Material: Silver
Issued By: Australia, 1914
Mint: Kerr, W. (Mint), Australia, 1914
Ship Named: Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australia, 1914
Other Association (See Comments): Imperial German Navy

Souvenir recalling the shipwreck of the Emden, sunk by HMAS Sydney off Cocos Island on 9 November 1914, during World War I.
References: Car. 1914/4
  1. [Book], Leslie Carlisle, Australian commemorative medals and medalets from 1788, B & C Press, Sydney, 1983


Peter Lane Posted on 16 Sep 2010 12:15 PM
The remainder were sold to the public as souvenirs and money accrued about production costs were to go to the RAN Relief Fund. The Powerhouse webpage states the remaining coins were melted down. Who is correct?
Issued by WA 1940, Amor Mint, & Ship depicted this do not appear to be correct.
Faye Thornton Posted on 03 Jan 2011 10:31 PM
The contents of the German raider S.M.S. Emden's treasury consisting of Mexican dollars were seized by the HMAS Sydney as prize money. Of the original 6,429 dollars, the Australian Navy Board had 1,000 mounted as medals, 996 distributed to the crew of the Sydney, to admiralty, distinguished persons, libraries, museums, historical societies, etc. both in England and Australia, and the remaining 4,433 melted down at the Sydney Mint and the proceeds of œ1,070 donated to the Royal Australian Navy Relief Fund
Those donated to the crew had their service number initials and surname along with rank stamped into the back
Graham Wilson Posted on 16 Dec 2012 12:39 PM
Peter, both answers about disposal of the coins and monies accrued are correct. The money left over from the public sale of the medal mounted coins after the cost of manufacture and gratis issue to crew members, etc was deducted was donated to the RAN Families Relief Fund. A number of unmounted coins were donated to libraries, museums, members of parliament, etc. The remaining 4,500 or so coins were melted down into four ingots averaging 925 ounces each and these were offered for public sale in January 1920. The offer for sale of the ingots was published in The Sydney Morning Herald's "For Sale" section on 3 January 1920. The advertisement states that tenders for purchase were to be sent to the Commodore-in-Charge, Garden Island, Sydney and included the statement that "This Silver is the proceeds of Silver Mexican Dollars recovered from the S.M.S. Emden after her destruction by H.M.A.S. Sydney."
Belinda Posted on 23 Jan 2013 10:09 PM
I have one of these coins/medals. It is mounted in its original frame with a blue felt background and typed description under glass. It was given to my father by a crew member of HMAS Sydney. This seaman had no family and he gave it to my father as a gift for running errands and collecting groceries. Dad is now 80. Not sure of its value but we love it anyway.
D Stevenson Posted on 31 Jul 2013 1:35 AM
My grand father T.V.Stevenson was on the HMAS Sydney 1 during the SMS Emden battle & was 1 of the 12 that were injured. I have his mounted Republic Maxicanna coin & mine has the eagle on the front side however when looking at some other I have noticed that some have the eagle on the reverse side & the cap on the front. Do you think this is an error during mounting or a bad repo?
thomas barry Posted on 14 Aug 2013 2:19 AM
I now have my grandads medal [thomas barry stoker]and it too is mounted wrong ,but it isnt a copy.also the medal presented by the people of western australia.i also have a plaque with german and aussie coins set in to it and two pieces of shrapnel mounted on it.enscripted,souvenirs from sms emden sunk by hmas sydney 9th nov1914.T.J.Barry.STOKER.anyone heard of these plaques. thanks
robert bates Posted on 29 Mar 2015 1:43 PM
I understand a relative of mine, George Bates, was a crew member on HMAS Australia when it sank the Emden. Did he receive a medal?
lisa Middleton Posted on 01 Apr 2015 12:07 PM
I have on this day 1/4/2015 found a photo that was used as a piece of cardboard backing in a picture frame of the HMAS Australia on its return from the defeat of "Emden". On November 9th, 1914. Words read...

The first of the Australian Navy to score a Naval victory, achieving complete success by putting an end to the career of the "Emden" on November 9th, 1914.
. -----------
" Our pups are of the true bulldog
. London.
Faye Thornton Posted on 20 Apr 2015 9:38 PM
Lisa, I would love to get a copy of the photo you found as my Great Uncle Wilfred Stewart was a gunner on the HMAS Sydney when it sank the Embden
Geoff Williamson Posted on 02 May 2015 3:27 AM
Yes, Lisa any chance that you can scan the photo.
I would also like to have a copy. My grand father was on the HMAS Sydney and was one of the 12 injured in the Emden battle. Here is a picture of Tom Williamson.

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