The first half of a sale of 1,000 military medals - one of the biggest auctions of its kind Sheffield has ever seen - made £55,000 and attracted ‘huge’ interest from collectors.
The hoard was amassed by an enthusiast who lived in the city and, before his death, had a passion for researching the stories behind the people who originally received the medals he bought.
Covering the period from the mid-1800s to the 1991 Gulf War, many of the medals were awarded to soldiers from the York and Lancaster Regiment, including examples from the Boer War and World Wars One and Two.
John Morgan, the specialist valuer who led the sale at Sheffield Auction Gallery in Heeley, said the room was packed with potential bidders.
“There were also many hundreds online and a huge number of commissioned bids,” he added.
The figure of £55,000 was ‘just under twice the estimate’.
“It all says success. The interest in First World War items continues to increase.”
A distinguished service order from World War One, awarded to a Major Smith from the Royal Garrison Artillery, made £2,100, and a group of five RAF medals sold for £1,950.
“Anything to do with the RAF did extremely well, perhaps because it’s rarer,” said John. “It’s the biggest military total we’ve ever had in a single sale. We received more interest than any other military sale we’ve ever had, too - it was very significant.”
Out of 530 lots, only four went unsold.
The second half of the sale - featuring more than 300 medals - is set to take place on June 9. John agreed that - given the response to the first auction - the final sum could reach £100,000. “The market is extremely buoyant.”
The gallery has called the lots the Dore Collection - a generic name, as the collector’s family wishes to remain anonymous.