Ernest Hemingway’s St. Christopher medal for sale

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2015-06-26 10:56:49

Ernest Hemingway’s St. Christopher medal for sale

5 Sep 2012, 11:17 GMT+01

A wonderful piece of literary history is being offered by Vintage Memorabilia, connected to the life of Ernest Hemingway, celebrated modernist writer, journalist, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

A renowned fervent atheist, Hemingway had a curious penchant for good luck talismans. He carried a St Christopher medallion with him right up until the last months of his life.

St Christopher medallions are typically worn by travellers, the group under the Saint’s particular patronage. Hemingway was a frequent traveller throughout his life, from his 18 year old World War I service driving ambulances around Italy, to his reporting on foreign affairs, Paris, the Caribbean, Spain, China, Cuba, Africa and more, so perhaps he felt protected by St Christopher, despite his atheism. He fashioned his medallion into a money clip.

The medallion is just one of several charms he was known to carry in his life, others including a dead Nazi’s belt buckle, a rabbit’s foot, Parisian horse chestnuts, and a piece of shrapnel removed from his leg during the war.

In September 1959, a pickpocket pilfered Hemingway’s wallet, with the medallion inside, while the writer was signing autographs. Hemingway appealed to the thief in a newspaper advertisement to return the wallet and St Christopher medal, but keep the cash ‘as a tribute to your skill’. Astonishingly, the pickpocket complied with his request.

Hemingway gifted this medallion to his best friend, hunting companion, and physician Dr George Saviers shortly before committing suicide. It is inscribed on the rear: ‘To George with Love and Gratitude from Papa and Mary 1961’.

Hemingway had been treated for depression, and tragically, lost his memory due to the electric shock treatment ‘cure’ popular at the time. This left him unable to write, exacerbated his already crippling depression, and led to his eventual suicide. Dr Saviers had counselled him through previous suicide attempts, monitored his high blood pressure, and later acted as a pallbearer at the writer’s funeral. The provenance of the medal is impeccable therefore, coming from Saviers’ estate.

Hemingway is a collectible figure. His letters have sold for prices up to £78,000 in the past. The medallion is offered at $10,000.

 

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