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Investing in Medals and Militaria

The value of medals and militaria has increased fivefold in the last two decades.

In 2010, Bonhams auction house confirmed the huge increase in this market by declaring: "The Arms & Armour market has never been stronger..."

Medals and militaria tell a story, and as collectors attach ever increasing importance to history's major conflicts, their appeal and value will rise.

More than any other investment, you can be sure that you are helping to ensure that the brave remain unforgotten - and that their legacy is protected and preserved for future generations.

Reasons to invest

Growing demand: This is a buoyant market with increasing numbers of collectors appreciating the history and achievements of war heroes. There are around 1m medal collectors around the world, with numbers having increasing significantly in the last few years.

Very limited supply: Good condition pieces from historic conflicts are rare. Items connected with major heroes are rarer still - just 14 Victoria Cross medals have been awarded since the second world war. Just 1,356 have been awarded in total.

Values rising: With soaring demand and a strictly limited supply of top items comes a subsequent rise in values. For example, a Victoria Cross was worth around £100,000 ($158,000) in 1990. Today, the record price for a single VC is £678,662 ($1.1m).

Never forgotten: The medals and memorabilia asset area offers a superb opportunity to mix historic interest with a valuable investment.

Historical performance

•  Militaria

A Union Jack, flown on board HMS Spartiate at the 1805 Battle of Traflagar sold for £384,000 ($607,000) in February 2010 to become the world's most valuable Union Jack.

The PFC40 Autograph Index shows that the average value of a Napoleon signed letter increased in value by 14.70% pa between 2000 and 2011.

A brooch worn by Dambuster commander Guy Gibson made a 2,100% increase on estimate at auction in May 2014.

11 US naval flags from the historic USS Constitution each set a world record at a Philadelphia auction in April 2012, with a Commodore's Broad Pennant from 1837-1845 making $158,500.

An 1849 Colt pocket revolver set a new $1.14m world record for a single firearm at auction, at Sotheby's Americana Week in New York in January 2012.

A second world war Enigma machine sold for £133,250 ($211,000) at Christie's in October 2011, beating the previous world record of £67,250 ($106,000), achieved at Christie's in November 2010, by 98.1%.

•  Medals

A double award Victoria Cross and Bar awarded to a British world war one officer sold for £1.5m in 2009. It was the only double Victoria Cross awarded during the conflict.

The medals awarded to a doctor on the Shackleton Antarctic mission made an 864% increase on estimate in October 2013.

The record price for a single Victoria Cross is £678,662 ($1.1m), set in September 2011 for the medal awarded to Australian world war two hero Ted Kenna. It beat the previous record of £491,567 ($777,000), set in July 2006 for a first world war VC.

1815 Waterloo medals, the first British campaign medal, which cost around £350 ($553) in 1990, are today valued at around £3,500 ($5,530).

Thinking of investing in medals and militaria?

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