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At the sale a South Africa Medal (right) 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.

Only Rorke’s Drift medals sold as part of a Victoria Cross group have made more.

For medal collectors, the ‘skirmish’, involving just 150 or so defenders, has assumed an importance far beyond the numbers involved.

Last week’s result smashed the previous top sum – the £70,000 bid at DNW on December 8 last year for the South Africa Medal awarded to Private Michael Minehan, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot.