The Ashcroft collection on display at the Imperial War Museum.

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Naxton, who holds the title of curator of the Ashcroft Medal Collection, will leave at the end of May after more than 30 years in the role.

The former Sotheby’s specialist has been instrumental in building Lord Ashcroft’s VC and other medal collections that are now largely housed in a special gallery at the Imperial War Museum.

Erskine-Hill moved to Spink in late 2016 from fellow London auction house Dix Noonan Webb. The move followed the departure of Spink specialists Mark Quayle, Oliver Pepys and John Hayward to DNW. Erskine-Hill, who began his career in the coin and medal department at Christie’s in 1980, was head of the medal department at Spink from 1997-2002, when he moved to DNW.

Over the past three decades, Nax ton has helped Lord Ashcroft to amass his unrivalled collection of VCs, currently totalling 212 such decorations.

He has also helped to build a separate George Cross collection, a Special Forces honours collection and a collection of medals for gallantry in the air, all of which are without compare. Naxton, who was 70 earlier this year, has worked in the medals world for 50 years. It was in 1986 that Lord Ashcroft purchased his first VC – a Second World War award to Acting Seaman James Magennis – when Naxton was the auctioneer while working for Sotheby’s where he started his career.

“I have been fortunate enough to pursue a truly fascinating career and to meet many extraordinary people along the way,” said Naxton.

“I have gained enormous satisfaction from helping Lord Ashcroft to build the world’s largest collection of VCs and to assist him in amassing his other landmark medal collections.”

Spink had not confirmed who would be taking over from Erskine-Hill by the time ATG went to press.