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Lot # 513 - Auction is closed.Estimate: US$500 / Unsold: Available at opening bid of US$ 400 + Buyers Fee
Ireland. Medal.
Ireland. Medal., . g. 1847. Agricultural: Corn. Silver, 43.3mm, 36.0g Obv: NOSTRI PLENA LABORIS Royal Dublin Society Instituted 1731, Minerva seated right, signed; Woodhouse. Rx: To Hugh Barton Esq for Second Best Indian Corn; Initials WW under wreath bow. Edge: Exhibition of Farm Produce 1847. Unc.

Hugh Barton (1766-1854), from Limerick, Ireland, was a notable figure in the Bordeaux wine trade before and after the French Revolution. He teamed up with his friend Daniel Guestier, who had a family lineage in wine making, to create Barton & Guestier, which still makes wines today. In 1794, the French Revolution entered its most violent phase, the Terror. Under foreign invasion, the French Government declared a state of emergency, and many foreigners residing in France were arrested. Hugh Barton was one of the foreign merchants arrested but escaped to his estate in Ireland, leaving Guestier temporarily in charge of affairs in France. In 1845, Ireland experienced a potato blight which destroyed 40% of the Irish potatoes and the following year, virtually 100% of the crop was ruined. Successive crop failure led to "Black '47," with increases in famine, emigration, and disease. English colonization of Ireland and wars had forced the Irish to pay exorbitant rents and taxes and to export their crops (corn, wheat, barley, and oats) to Britain, which left the potato as the sole dietary staple for the people and their animals. While other regions were able to turn to alternative food sources, the Irish were dependent on the potato and the results of the blight were disastrous. Although the obverse of the medals offered in this sale are not that uncommon, the fact that they were awarded to Hugh Barton, a name that is known today in the wine industry and issued during the Irish Potato Famine for the very crops that were so significant at the time, make these medals incredible and sought after pieces of history..
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