Ernest Shackleton medals auction for $898,500 at Christie's

Fifteen medals awarded to explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) have auctioned for a combined £585,000 ($898,637).

The lead lot consisted of four medals that made £230,500 ($352,665), demolishing its £30,000 estimate at Christie's auction in London yesterday.

Shackleton medals
A lot of four medals auctioned for £230,500

It contained Shackleton's Commander of the Royal Victorian Order - his knighthood. He received it  for leading the 1907-1909 Nimrod expedition to the Antarctic - the furthest south any expedition had been.

Shackleton's Chilean Order of Merit, which recognised his leadership in ensuring the safe rescue of his men on the ill-fated Endurance expedition across the South Pole, sold for £74,500 ($113,985).

Shackleton sailed hundreds of miles in a small boat to seek help for his stranded crew.

"Sir Ernest Shackleton never became what he had long hoped to — the first man to reach the South Pole. He was beaten to it in 1911 by the Norwegian Roald Amundsen," comments Christie's.

"Yet a century after what's now known as the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration, his name lives on in a way that those of his rivals do not…

"He was recognised for this during his lifetime, and became the most decorated of all polar explorers, being awarded more than 40 medals and awards."

In 2013, a pair of medals awarded to a doctor aboard Shackleton's Nimrod expedition made £48,000 ($77,237).

Also selling at the Travel, Science and Natural History auction yesterday was an intact Elephant Bird egg, which made £37,500 ($57,375).

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