UK

Victoria Cross Medals From Indian Mutiny Auctioned For £360,000

The auctioneers said there had been "plenty of competition" for the medals during the bidding.

Two Victoria Cross medals (VC), awarded during the Indian Mutiny of 1857-1858, have been sold at auction for a total of £360,000.

The medals fetched £174,000 and £186,000 respectively at specialist auctioneers Morton & Eden in London.

Both items were bought by the same anonymous bidder on Wednesday.

The first medal was awarded to Captain George Forrest for "gallant conduct in the defence of the Delhi Magazine on 11 May 1857", making it one of the earliest VCs to be awarded during the Indian Mutiny.

Captain Forrest had a long and distinguished service in the Indian Army before the Indian Mutiny, but at 57 he was too old to serve in the Regular Army.

Instead, he had been serving in the Bengal Veteran Establishment of the Indian Army when the mutiny began.

As the Assistant Commissary of Ordnance at Delhi, he was one of the 'Gallant Nine', protecting the munitions store for more than four hours, eventually blowing it up before it was overwhelmed.

The second medal was awarded to Ensign John Smith of the Royal Bengal Engineers, after he demonstrated "conspicuous gallantry" during the storming and destruction of the Kashmir Gate at Delhi on 14 September 1857.

A sergeant in the Bengal Sappers and Miners at the time of the mutiny, once he successfully delivered his own bag of charges at the gate under heavy fire, he then returned with another bag, dropped by a soldier.

Due to the killing and wounding of his commanding officers, Smith returned to light the fuse and blow the gate, allowing British guns to enter and reclaim the city.

David Kirk, medal specialist at Morton & Eden, said there had been "plenty of competition" for the medals at the auction.

"It was a great honour for us to have offered two distinguished Indian Mutiny VCs in today's auction, neither of which had been seen on the market for more than two decades," he said.

"There was plenty of competition for both VCs, and the results show that the market for these iconic awards remains strong."

Cover image: The two Victoria Cross medals sold at auction (Picture: Morton & Eden).