First WWI Victoria Cross group up 53.3% on estimate in London
The superb medal grouping included the first WWI Victoria Cross awarded to a private
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Thursday 19 July 2012
The first Victoria Cross medal awarded to a private in the first world war has sold 53.3% above its pre-sale estimate in an important militaria auction.
As predicted by Paul Fraser Collectibles, the sale, which was held in London today (July 19), saw the outstanding group of six medals soar past its £180,000 high estimate to achieve £276,000 ($433,653), including the buyer's premium.
The Victoria Cross was awarded to Private Sidney Godley for his heroic efforts in defending the Nimy Bridge at Mons on August 23, 1914. Already severely wounded by shrapnel and with a bullet lodged in his skull,
Godley volunteered to man a crucial machine gun after his commanding officer had been killed by heavy fire from the German forces.
He held the position successfully for over two hours, insisting on maintaining cover until the rest of his battalion had reached safety. Once they were clear, Godley then destroyed the weapon to ensure that it could not be used against him and escaped the Nimy Bridge.
Unfortunately, he was soon captured by German troops as they advanced over the bridge and was sent to a prisoner of war camp. Godley remained there for four years until he managed a daring escape in 1918, seizing the opportunity when his captors left their posts during the revolution in Berlin.
As a testament to his bravery, Godley was awarded the six medals at auction throughout the remainder of his life. The collection includesd the Victoria Cross, British war and victory medals, and coronation medals from both 1937 and 1953.
The market for medals such as the set sold today is currently booming, with several important lots achieving results way past their estimate in recent sales. The medal awarded to James Sharman, the man who carried Lord Nelson below decks after he was shot at the Battle of Trafalgar sold 50% above estimate on July 11. Read more on the investment potential of medals here.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a stunning selection of the finest militaria items. This fascinating letter from Winston Churchill expresses his shock at the treatment of colonial troops returning from the first world war, in his newly appointed position as secretary of war.
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