ANSA McAL wins US$25,000 bid for ORTT on Ebay; to be donated to National Museum

Thursday, March 10, 2016 - 00:00

The Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is coming home.

ANSA McAL Limited has been successful in purchasing the country's highest national award that had gone up for sale on Ebay.

The group got the 18K gold medal for the opening sale price of US$25,000 although a bidding war had pushed it up to $31,300 in the last 36 hours.

At one point, someone placed a bid for as much as US$60,000 but it was not accepted by the buyer.

Around 2.30 this afternoon a notice went up on the e-commerce site, showing that all other bids were cancelled and that the first bidder, ANSA McAL had won the bid for US$25,000.

It became clear that the ID of the buyer was the same ID used by ANSA McAL when it placed the initial bid.

Group Chairman and Chief Executive of the ANSA McAL Group, Mr A. Norman Sabga, LLD (Hon.), made the following announcement this afternoon:

"Despite the incidence of higher bids on the eBay site, ANSA McAL secured the agreement of the store, Crawford Coin Stamp Militaria in Vancouver, British Colombia, to pull down the auction and recognize our initial bid. This move has ensured that the historic piece will be duly returned to our nation in preservation of its bestowed honour and dignity. "

Mr Sabga added, "I am filled with pride and joy that we were able to ensure that this cherished national award will soon be on its way back to Trinidad and Tobago. There are many moments in my life when I have felt we have done something really worthwhile, but nothing can outmatch this by the sheer significance of its national patrimonial value and meaning."

The attempt to sell the medal had angered President Anthony Carmona who issued a statement on Tuesday condemning it.


The Executive Chairman of the ANSA McAL Group of Companies, provided a background on how events unfolded today:

“We came to an agreement with the owner of the store, that given the historic significance of the medal, and in consideration of ANSA McAL’s noble intention to reclaim the award on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago, all other bids would be closed.”

Efforts will now be made to respectfully seek the support of the Office of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to facilitate the donation of the medal to the National Museum.

The ORTT was posthumously awarded to union leader Adrian Cola Rienzi. The 18-carat gold medal, packaged with the original award document, is signed by the former President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency, George Maxwell Richards and stamped with the Presidential seal.

Adrian Cola Rienzi (born Krishna Deonarine in 1905) founded both the Oilfield Workers Trade Union and the All Trinidad Sugar Estates and Factory Workers Union. He was also involved in the establishment of three other trade unions and became the first President of the Trinidad and Tobago Trades Union Council from its inception in 1938 until 1944.

The was no indication of how much Crawford Coin Stamp Militaria paid to acquire the medal.