But has the craze for collecting Victoria Cross medals, fueled by the voracious Lord Ashcroft, reached a peak? Ashcroft allowed himself to be outbid, albeit at a record-setting level. The much-publicised Knox cross was hammered down to another buyer. But who? The mystery continues. All we know is that the Knox cross won't be joining the Ashcroft collection at the Imperial War Museum.
The first Victoria Cross ever awarded to a British Army soldier sold for a staggering £252,000 at auction yesterday - more than twice its estimate.
Lord Ashcroft an avid collector of VCs was outbid by an anonymous buyer, to the disappointment of the family of Major John Simpson Knox, who won the honour.
The lot, which included three other medals, two portraits, a cap badge and a belt plate sold for £252,000 at Spink Auction House in London.
It had been estimated to fetch around £120,000.
Major Knox, of the Scots Fusilier Guards, was awarded the VC for his gallantry while fighting in the Crimean War between 1854 and 1855.
The medal, the highest military award for valour, went under the hammer in London along with a cannonball reputed to have blown the Glasgow soldier's arm off.
But descendants of the war hero had wanted the VC to go on permanent display with the rest of Major Knox's collection at the Imperial War Museum.
Michael Naxton, curator of the Ashcroft Collection, said the Tory peer had hoped to buy it after the family had written to him opposing the sale.
'But although Lord Ashcroft is a man of means there has to be some consideration of commercial realities,' Mr Naxton told The Times.
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Wayne Homren, Editor
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