When choosing a collectibles niche to invest your passion into, it’s worth choosing one that has an edge above all others.
And this can certainly be said of war medals. Of all the types of collectibles on the markets, none captures history more poignantly.
Medals symbolise heroism, loyalty and accomplishment better than anything else. It isn’t for nothing that the global collectible medals markets have been estimated at $33m per annum.
Even better, anyone can begin a medal collection. You can pick up some examples at flea markets, while others can sell for millions.
Another fine ‘million dollar’ example has emerged on the markets this week. It’s a real “first” for the medals market – with something as history-orientated as medals, you don’t get many firsts.
This Thursday will see the first-ever auctioning of an Australian Victoria Cross from World War Two. Of course, other examples have sold before for hundreds of thousands.
But this is the first WW2 example awarded to an Australian available to collectors, and is one of only 22 Australian World War II VCs.
With this in mind, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the medal carries a $1m estimate.
VCs are the big prize among medal collectors. It remains the highest decoration for bravery awarded in Britain and the Commonwealth, specifically for valour in the face of the enemy.
But “valour” doesn’t seem like a strong enough word to describe the actions of Australian Ted Kenna – although the same can be said of all VC winners.
Ted Kenna’s 10 medals, including the Victoria Cross, will appear with a $1m pre-sale estimate
Kenna’s feats included single-handedly taking out a Japanese machine gun post… and doing the same again two weeks later, receiving an almost-fatal bullet to his jaw.
Ted Kenna died last year, which is why his medal has only just appeared on the market.
At least the $1m valuation should ensure that the medal goes to a good home. One person who you can be sure will have his eyes on it is Lord Michael Ashcroft.
Like all the best collectors, Ashcroft isn’t just a mere custodian of the world’s largest collection of VCs, but is also on a one-man crusade to ensure history’s VC-commemorated heroes aren’t forgotten about.
The Victoria Cross is the highest British and Commonwealth honour for valour in the face of the enemy
Ashcroft’s collection actually began back in 1986 at Sotheby’s, when he purchased the midget submarine VC group of Leading Seaman James Magennis of the Royal Navy for £31,000 above its £26,000 high sale estimate.
At the time, Ashcroft described his purchase as the fulfilment of “a boyhood ambition to own… Britain’s premier bravery award.”
The desire of other collectors around the world to fulfil their ‘boyhood ambitions’ will certainly make this sale one to watch at Noble Numismatics on Thursday (July 28).
Find out how you can benefit from collecting medals by visiting Paul Fraser Collectibles’ special pages.