An Ottoman medal, which was once presented by a sultan to the wife of a British ambassador in Turkey, will be auctioned in Istanbul soon. according to semi-official Anadolu Agency.
Sultan Abdulhamid II created the Order of Compassion (“Sefkat Nisanı” in Turkish) in 1878 to award women who were distinguished in their efforts on humanitarian aid and charity. Three female pioneers of Turkish literature, Fatma Aliye Topuz, Nigar Hanım and Halide Edip Adıvar, were among famous names who were decorated with the order.
Murat Akça, a jeweler in the western province of Bursa, told the agency that the medal he prepared to be put on auction was once belonged to Lady Layard, the wife of Sir Henry Layard, who was the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1877 to 1880.
Sultan Abdulhamid II had decorated Lady Layard with the order for her contributions to humanitarian relief efforts during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. The Russian invasion of the Ottoman Balkans had triggered a massive exodus of refugees then.
The value of the order is around 50,000 Turkish Lira today,” Akça said, noting that the golden medal is adorned with diamonds, emeralds and rubies.
The star-shaped medal bears the tughra, or the signature, of Abdulhamid II. The Ottoman Turkish words “insaniyet” (Humanity), “yardım” (Aid) and “hamiyet” (Charity) is engraved on the medal, which also reads the date 1878.