For some time The E-Sylum has chronicled the craze for Victoria Cross medals and other rare military medals of the world. Lord Ashcroft has been the market-maker in VCs, building a substantial collection with an eye toward finding a permanent home to display it. Those plans have now come to fruition. Ashcroft's medal collection will be housed in a new gallery at the Imperial War Museum in London. I visited the museum on my stint in London last summer, and the new gallery provides all the more reason for numismatists to make a stop there on their travels. -EditorThe world's largest collection of Victoria Crosses, owned by Lord Ashcroft, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, is to be put on permanent display in the Imperial War Museum. Lord Ashcroft will also pay for a new £5 million gallery to house his collection.
The 152 medals, which range from the Crimean to the Falklands wars, will be displayed alongside the 50 VCs and 29 George Crosses (GCs) already held by the Museum.
The gallery, which will be named after Lord Ashcroft, will examine the creation of the VC and the George Cross and the personal stories behind the award of the medals.
Lord Ashcroft bought his first VC at auction in 1986 – the medal awarded to Leading Seaman James Magennis, one of two crew serving in a midget submarine that planted limpet mines on a moored Japanese cruiser at the end of the Second World War.
The trust he set up to care for and protect the medals now owns more than one tenth of all the VCs ever awarded.
Lord Ashcroft is the author of Victoria Cross Heroes, published in 2006 to mark the 150th anniversary of the creation of the VC by Queen Victoria through a Royal Warrant. The foreword was written by the Prince of Wales.
To read the complete article, see: World's largest VC collection to go on show (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2270310/
CANADIAN DEATH RACE COINS
An E-Sylum reader forwarded this story from the Calgary herald about the Canadian Death Race, in which contestants must carry a coin across the finish line. -EditorThe Canadian Death Race never actually killed anyone. Once, it came close.
Entrants from as far away as Australia will take part in the ninth incarnation of The North Face Canadian Death Race on Aug. 2 and 3 in Grande Cache, a Rocky Mountains foothills town about 400 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. It's a test of physical and mental endurance that has become an annual challenge for elite athletes and weekend warriors.
The Death Race plays on the Greek myth of Charon, the ferryman who ushered the souls of the dead across the river Styx and into Hades for a fee of one gold coin per soul.
Each of the 1,000 or so entrants will receive a specially minted coin they must take with them as they make their way through the rugged mountain terrain surrounding Grande Cache.
Racers must have their coin to cross the Smoky River near the end of their trek. Losing the coin means instant disqualification.
To read the complete article, see: Death Race brings brave souls to Alberta (http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=1ffe9b87-efcd-4307-ae6e-9e695bb8ecd9)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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