A buyer in the Lockdales 'Medals and Militaria' sale - which took place on January 16 - appears to have picked up a bargain. The lucky winner snapped up a group of Distinguished Flying Cross medals for only four figures; a purchase that will very likely make a sound investment for the future.
The DFC group included medals awarded to Flying Officer George Frederick Bickerstaff of the RAF and his father. Those belonging to the younger Bickerstaff date from the Second World War, and were awarded after 36 sorties, 219 flying hours and a tour of operations over German cities including Berlin, Kassel and Hanover.
The medals belonging to Bickerstaff's father date from the First and the Second World Wars. The set of medals were also accompanied by original documentation. The original estimate of £1,800-2,000 raised a few eyebrows here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, considering the record DFC groups have for strong sales.
Last November, Spink sold a fantastic DFC group belonging to the highly successful Battle of Britain pilot, RFT 'Bob' Doe. Doe flew Spitfires and Hurricanes, downing 14 enemy aircraft, and later led No. 10 Squadron in operation over India and Burma. The remarkable lot contained the DFC and a Distinguished Service Order, plus seven other medals, realising a wonderful £185,000.
Similarly, we reported on a DFC group belonging to the outstanding Battle of Britain pilot Captain "Dutch" Hugo, which received considerable attention last April. The group of nine medals, including a DFC with two bars, was accompanied by a set of glowing recommendations from Hugo's senior officers and a bullet removed from the pilot. It sold for an excellent £150,000.
In November, we reported on a rare DFC group - consisting of eight medals - awarded to Captain PD Thompson, a Second World War fighter ace. In 1942, Thompson played a key part in the defence of Malta and was decorated with the RAFVR Distinguished Flying Cross GVIR. This wonderful set attracted an estimate of between £15,000-20,000.
Returning to the Lockdales auction, the Bickerstaff group sold for a comparatively modest £1,900. The evidence above suggests that the value and investment potential in DFC groups is considerable. For a fraction of the cost of a top end collection, you could grab a bargain investment as well as preserving a poignant reminder of the bravery of RAF officers such as George Bickerstaff and his father.
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