On the 1909 proof cents in the J.S. Jenks catalog. They really did NOT sell for under face value. I pulled my copy. Under Terms and
Conditions, each lot is sold so much per PIECE, except proof sets. So the 14 pieces sold for 5 cents EACH, or 70 cents.
That word FIRST in relation to the Victoria Cross should, I think, have been qualified in the heading. The very first Victoria Cross was, as I understand it, awarded to Seaman Charles Lucas, 18 years old, who picked up and threw overboard a Russian shell with the fuse still burning, thus saving his ship, HMS Hecla, 21 June, 1854. He eventually became a Rear Admiral.
Twenty-four Crosses were awarded by Queen Victoria at the first investiture held in 1857. Surely, the first went to a Navy man who would have gotten a blue ribboned Cross. (This changed to the claret colour with the advent of the Royal Air Force). The American Unknown Warrior of WWI was awarded a Cross too.
The largest collection of Victoria Cross medals is currently held by Lord Michael Ashcroft, Baron of Chichester, who is deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in Great Britain, and a prolific writer on VC medals, and other causes he chooses to champion. See
for links to his articles.