Elliot Wilson

Gallantry is a finite resource

Some medal collectors are fascinated by courage, others want a hedge against soggy house prices, says Elliot Wilson

Few individuals better personify the eccentric, combative and rarefied world of medal collecting than Michael Ashcroft, the businessman and controversially deep-pocketed Tory party eminence grise. A self-made man whose fortune is estimated by the Sunday Times at £1.1 billion — more than the entire net worth of Belize, the tiny Central American state he calls home — Lord Ashcroft has also carved out a near-monopoly of a very finite resource: the Victoria Cross.

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