Wellington Auctions of London opened bidding on a large selection of unique and historic military medals, this week. The auction house holds a monthly sale via post and the internet, allowing consignors to sell items to a wide range of collectors and alternative investors with an interest in medals and militaria.
The February sale has plenty on offer to excite experienced investors or new collectors. The broad miscellany of items on offer includes a variety of British single campaign and long service medals, as well as Imperial German and Third Reich medals. And there are several highlights that budding enthusiasts should take note of...
Lot 429 includes an excessively rare Military Medal awarded to Warrant Officer GH Lewis of the Royal Air Force. Lewis was decorated for his bravery as a gunner during action with the Kurds at Qara Anjir in northern Iraq, in 1924.
The Military Medal, or 'MM', was awarded to British military personnel for bravery in battle on land. As such, it is unique in being one of only 11 'MM's awarded to an RAF officer between the First and Second World Wars. Its value is mirrored in the estimate of £4,750-5,500.
Also noteworthy is lot 436, a group of very fine medals awarded to members of the Maclean family. Corporal DM Maclean was decorated with a variety of medals, including a 1939-1945 Star, an Africa Star, and an Africa Service Medal.
He was also decorated with an MM, awarded for bravery in action during an advance in Italy in 1944, in which he personally destroyed an enemy strong point in adverse circumstances. He died aged only 24. The excellent condition and unique historical importance of these medals make them appealing acquisitions for collectors, and are estimated to sell for £3,700-4,200.
The Wellington's sale is a perfect example of an entry point into the market for newcomers to medal collecting. For a modest sum, people looking for an interesting alternative to stocks or shares can invest in personal and historic artefacts with growing value.
As we highlighted in our October article, medal collecting can be a personally satisfying pursuit for investors, with pieces generally retaining or increasing their value. A fine example of this sort of investment is this collection of medals awarded to Private Francis Fitzpatrick for bravery during the Basuto War, 1879.
So, if you fancy starting or building up a medal collection - whether through curiosity about the past or as an investment for the future - Wellington's, and many other auction houses, offer prime opportunities at affordable prices. Bidding closes at March 1 2011.