British buyer bags Currie’s VC
Bidding for the Victoria Cross group won by one of Canada’s greatest heroes, Lieutenant Colonel David Currie, began at CAD450,000 (£271,000) and rose steadily as several potential purchasers on the telephone and on the internet competed for the awards.
The successful bidder when the hammer came down at CAD550,000 (£331,325) was a UK private collector bidding on the internet. After auction house, Dix Noonan Webb added its buyers’ commission the final price paid was CAD660,000 (£397,590). Although the auction took place in London, bidding was conducted in Canadian dollars.
The Victoria Cross and other medals remain in Canada where they have been since the vendor bought them privately from Currie’s widow Isabel in 1989. Because the successful bidder is based in the UK, an application will now be made to the Canadian Government for a cultural property export permit.
The VC won by Currie is unique to the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, the only one awarded to a Canadian soldier for the 1944 Normandy campaign and the only World War II VC to a member of a Canadian unit not already on public display in Canada.
Only 181 awards of the VC and one Bar were made during World War II, of which 16 were awarded to Canadians. Of these 16 only 12 were given to members of Canadian units, 11 of which are on public display in Canada – Currie’s being the only exception. The other four awards went to Canadians serving with British units and three of these are on public display in England. Currie was the only member of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps to win the VC and the only Canadian to win the VC during the Normandy campaign.
After the war Currie worked in Quebec before being appointed Sergeant-at-Arms of the Canadian House of Commons in 1959, remaining in this role until 1978. He died in Ottawa on 20 June 1986 aged 73 and is buried in Owen Sound, Ontario.
Currie’s decorations and medals consist of: Victoria Cross, 1939-45 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Service Bar, War Medal 1939-45, Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953, Canadian Centennial Medal 1967 and Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977. They were sold with an archive of documents, photographs and newspaper cuttings.
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