British buyer wanted for Shackleton Medal | Polarjournal
Sir Ernest Shackleton’s polar medal is valued at an incredible 1.76 million pounds. (Photo: DCMS)

The British government believes that Shackleton’s Polar Medal is his last one still in the UK. The medal awarded to Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton could leave the country unless a UK-based buyer comes forward. Sir Ernest Shackleton received the award after three separate expeditions to Antarctica, two of which he led himself.

However, the purchase is by no means cheap, as the value is estimated at around £1.76 million.

The Polar Medal was awarded to Shackleton in recognition of his three polar expeditions (1902-04, 1907-09, 1914-16), the last two of which he led. (Photo: Frank Hurley)

In order to prevent a foreign buyer from taking possession of the piece, which is not only valuable in monetary terms, the British government has now imposed a temporary export ban on the Polar Medal.

The decision on the application for an export license for the medal, which would allow it to be purchased from abroad, has been postponed until 1 May 2024. However, the review panel made it clear that the “loss” of the medal would be a “misfortune” from the British point of view.

Andrew Hochhauser, chairman of the committee that reviews the export of such objects, said: “It should go to a UK public institution where it can remind visitors of Shackleton’s extraordinary achievements and inspire future generations of leaders.”

The silver badge is of “outstanding significance”, Andrew Hochhauser highlighted.

To our great surprise, an auction of 15 medals in 2015 raised a large amount. (Photo: DCMS)

Several medals were auctioned back in 2015

Some of the discoverer’s medals went under the hammer at Christie’s in London back in 2015, fetching over 500,000 pounds. Among other things, his Chilean Order of Merit and four British medals were sold.

Nick Lambourn, Director of Christie’s London, said at the time: “We are thrilled with the results of Shackleton’s decorations. The 15 medals sold together for over £580,000, each soaring above their pre-sale estimates and demonstrating how Shackleton’s legacy continues to capture imaginations today.”

Shackleton’s market value does not appear to have dropped in the meantime.

The Arctic Medal was introduced in 1857 and renamed the Polar Medal in 1904. It is awarded to individuals for outstanding achievements in the field of polar research. It was first awarded to the participants of Captain Robert F. Scott’s successful first expedition to Antarctica and then as a reward for future expedition members.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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