First Victoria Cross medal of the Great War expected to bring $388,250
The first Victoria Cross medal awarded during the first world war will sell on July 19
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Monday 9 July 2012
The first Victoria Cross medal to be awarded during the first world war is to be auctioned as part of a group on July 19 in London.
The medal was presented to Private Sidney Godley for his bravery in defending the Nimy Bridge at Mons on August 23, 1914. Despite being wounded by shrapnel and having a bullet lodged in his skull, Godley took over a machine gun from his mortally wounded commanding officer and held the position for over two hours under heavy fire, maintaining cover for all of his battalion as they withdrew.
He then destroyed his gun to ensure that it could not be used against him and escaped the Nimy Bridge. However, he was soon captured by the advancing German forces, who sent him to Berlin to receive surgery and skin grafts before being transferred to a prisoner of war camp. It was here that he was informed by a German officer that he had been awarded the first Victoria Cross medal of the first world war along with his fellow survivor, Lieutenant Dease.
Godley would eventually escape four years later in 1918, when his captors left their posts during the revolution in Berlin. He then made his way back to England via Denmark and was subsequently reunited with his family. He died at his home aged 68 in 1957.
The spectacular and important set comprises six medals awarded to Godley: the Victoria Cross, engraved with Godley's name and regiment, the 1914 star with engraved bar, British war and victory medals, and Coronation medals from both 1937 and 1953. With all six in excellent condition, they are expected to make £140,000-180,000, although we believe £250,000 ($388,250) is not out of the question, such is the desirability of the collection.
On July 11-12, medal collectors will also have the chance to bid on the Naval General Service Medal awarded to James Sharman, the man who carried Admiral Nelson below deck at the Battle of Trafalgar. Check back with us shortly for the results of both of these important sales.
Paul Fraser Collectibles currently has a brilliant range of militaria in stock, including the personal photograph album of British general Oliver Lees.
Recent and related articles
· Collecting Victoria Crosses | 8 June 2012
· Saddam Hussein's tableware to feature in NY militaria sale | 10 May 2012
· Colt Navy revolver sells for $368,000 at firearms auction | 30 April 2012
Guides and analysis