Nobel Peace Prize medal sells for $1.38 million at auction

(REUTERS) - A 1936 Nobel Peace Prize medal, only the second such medal to be sold at auction, has fetched US$1.1 million (S$1.38 million) in a sale to a private Asian collector, auctioneers Stack's Bowers said on Friday.

Four collectors from around the globe bid aggressively on the medal at the auction in Baltimore, Maryland, on Thursday evening, pushing the final price, which included the buyer's premium, far above the presale estimate of up to US$100,000.

"It is sort of the ultimate trophy. We call this the world's most famous medal," John Kraljevich, a consultant at Stack's Bowers, said in an interview.

Since 1901, Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded 94 times, according to the prize website. Fifteen of them have been awarded to women.

The 1936 medal was sold by the estate of a private collector from New York, who had owned it for about a decade. The medal was awarded to Carlos Saavedra Lamas, foreign minister of Argentina, for his part in ending the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia and for his work on a South American antiwar pact that was signed in 1933. Saavedra Lamas died in 1959.

"In essence anyone who is collecting medals is collecting history. Obviously, the history of the 20th century is in many ways written through the recipients of this medal. This one tells the story of a bloody conflict in South America,"Kraljevich said.

A 1903 Nobel Peace Prize medal sold for nearly US$17,000 at auction in 1985 in London.

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