The medals had been estimated at £180,000-220,000 at the Dix Noonan Webb auction in London on March 1, and sold to Lord Ashcroft for £240,000 (or £288,000 with commission).
They will now go public display. The former Conservative Party treasurer has built the world’s largest collection of VCs, which are displayed in a special gallery at the Imperial War Museum in London.
Second Rorke's Drift record breaker
Meanwhile, at the same DNW sale, less than three months after setting a Rorke’s Drift medal record, the auction house has done it again.
On March 1 a South Africa Medal with clasp for 1879 awarded to Driver Charles Robson, who was batman to the commanding officer Lieutenant John Chard during the epic defence against the Zulus, sold for £110,000 (plus 20% buyer’s premium) against an estimate of £30,000-40,000. It was bought by a private collector bidding on the phone.
It set a record for a Rorke’s Drift medal awarded to a defender who did not receive the Victoria Cross.
For medal collectors, the ‘skirmish’, involving just 150 or so defenders, has also assumed an importance far beyond the numbers involved.
That result also smashed the previous top sum achieved by DNW when a South Africa Medal 1877-79 awarded to Private Michael Minehan, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot, hammered down at £70,000 on December 8 against an estimate of £26,000-30,000. The buyer was a British private collector.
In February last year In February a South Africa Medal awarded to Rorke’s Drift survivor 1524 Private Joseph Bromwich 2-24th Foot sold for £39,500 at the Fieldings auction house in Stourbridge. The buyer was a Midlands private collector.