The incredible story behind the World Record sale

Breaking news from the world record breaking sale of The Victoria Cross awarded to Flight Lieutenant W. 'Bill' Reid.

As we reported earlier this week, Paul Fraser Collectibles was present at the auction but dropped out of the bidding at £280,000, leaving two potential purchasers to battle it out for the rare medal.

We can now report that 44-year-old Melissa John paid an unprecedented £357,500 in memory of her late brother.

"I was always a silent partner - it was my brother's passion," Miss John told the Western Mail.

"I really felt it was the right thing to do and it makes me happy to think that I've done it.

Christopher John, a well-known Cardiff estate agent, died suddenly last year aged just 47.

As a medal collector it had always been his ambition to own a VC.  

"They are so rare and there were very few issued to pilots," Miss John said. "Most of them are in museums and there may never be another one on sale again.

"The pinnacle of any collection would be a Victoria Cross - that is why it was very important to me to acquire it."

The £357,500 hammer price smashed the previous British record of £230,000 for a VC awarded to a British recipient.

"Some museums were after it and I was a little nervous.

"There were several people in the room that my brother was quite competitive with, so he would have been delighted with the result. Christopher was the pilot and I was the navigator.

"To him, it was more than buying medals - he loved the pilots and everything they did."

Miss John had only found out about the medal sale on Monday, after returning from a business trip to Switzerland.

It's been quite a week for the sale of rare medals with Billionaire Lord Ashcroft also getting in on the act with his £1.5m VC purchase.

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