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Father and son Polar Medals awarded to John and Leslie Miller - £24,500 at Warren & Wignall.

The honours for John Joseph Miller and Leslie John Miller took £24,500 in the Leyland, Lancashire, auction.

They comprised George V First World War and later trio: Polar Medal with Antarctic 1929-31 bar, British War Medal and Mercantile Marine War Medal, all inscribed JOHN J MILLER, and George VI Polar Medal with Antarctic 1931-35 bar inscribed LESLIE JOHN MILLER.

The medals – consigned by direct family descent - were offered with a display, The Polar Heroes, comprising photographs and newspaper articles, and with John Joseph’s membership certificate for the Antarctic Club.

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The Antarctic Club certificate of membership accompanying father and son Polar Medals awarded to John and Leslie Miller - £24,500 at Warren & Wignall.

James Warren from the auction house said: “We had four phone bids from collectors in Canada, Australia and Germany, the underbidder (also on the phone) was a UK-based trader, and we also had a number of bids at the desk within the estimate. The bids were taken for just over six minutes and the medals ultimately sold on thesaleroom.com to an eastern European buyer (presumably a private collector).”

John served on the RRS Discovery in 1929 with Douglas Mawson – the same ship which took Scott on his first voyage to the Antarctic in 1901. When the vessel returned from Mawson’s expedition and was moored on the Embankment in London, John was made caretaker. In 1986 Discovery returned to Dundee, where she was built, and is now open to the public.

His son was on the second Discovery, which set off in 1931 and spent four years in the Antarctic.

Arctic to Polar

The honour was instituted in 1857 as the Arctic Medal and renamed the Polar Medal in 1904. Auction sales have included that of Apsley Cherry-Garrard, author of The Worst Journey in the World, which nearly doubled the top estimate to take £58,000 at Dix Noonan Webb in June 2013.