Precious war medal sets world record price

Sydney - Australia's last privately owned Victoria Cross medal awarded at the First World War battle of Gallipoli in Turkey sold at auction on Monday for a world record AUS$1-million (about R5-million).

The buyer was an anonymous Australian who said he intended to put the medal on display at the War Memorial museum in Canberra.

The medal was awarded posthumously to New Zealand-born Australian soldier Captain Alfred Shout. His grandson, 67-year-old Graham Thomas, was the seller.

Shout, killed when a grenade blew up in his face, was the most highly decorated Australian soldier to serve during the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915. He was awarded the Military Cross during the landing at Anzac Cove in April, and then the Victoria Cross for his actions in the Battle of Lone Pine in August that year.

The previous record price for a medal was set in 2005 when AUS$595 000 was paid for one won by Captain Thomas Hardy at Lord Nelson's victory at Trafalgar in 1805.

The previous world auction record for the sale of a Victoria Cross was in 2004 when $575 000 (about R4-million) was paid for a medal awarded to Sergeant Norman Jackson, a British Royal Air Force pilot during World War II in 1944.

The War Memorial museum holds the other eight VCs awarded to Australians for service at Gallipoli. -

Sapa-dpa


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