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The E-Sylum (9/29/2013)

Book Content

Harry Waterson submitted this item regarding the market value of Medals of Honor. Thanks! -Editor

What Price Glory? No, this is not a 1952 Jimmy Cagney comedy. This is an analysis of Victoria Cross and Medal of Honor medals auctioned off November 10. 1988. The venue was Sotheby's, London. The auction codename was "SCRAMBLE!" The exchange rate was $1.89 to the pound.

Medal of Honor prices

Twenty-five years ago the value of these medals was dependent on the recipient and the story of heroism his medals told. Since Medals of Honor could not be sold legally in the US, the London market was the venue of choice. In this auction the Medals of Honor outnumbered the Victoria Crosses by more than two to one. The unnamed US medals went for small prices and probably went to type collectors. The exception to that was the Navy Type II Tiffany Cross which is rare by any definition.

There was thought that the medals and awards of Admiral Richard E. Byrd were consigned to Sotheby's in London so that his Medal of Honor could be sold. That is not stated here as fact but was certainly a contributing factor. The total Byrd consignment came to 90 lots. It was sold by the estate of Marie A. Byrd, the Admiral's widow. The real irony was that just one month before the sale the son of Admiral Byrd, Richard E. Byrd, Jr., was discovered dead in an empty warehouse in Baltimore where he had been living rough for some weeks. At the time the family had no explanation for what happened.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON THE VALUE OF A MEDAL OF HONOR (

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