Saturday, 15 December 2007

Lafayette’s medal fetches over $5m at auction

A gold and enamel medal that once belonged to the American Revolutionary hero the Marquis de Lafayette was bought at Sotheby's auction on Tuesday for $5.26 million by France's Fondation de Chambrun.

Sold by Lafayette's descendants, the medal was given to the Frenchman in 1824 by relatives of America's first president George Washington, when Lafayette was 67 years old.

"We are thrilled with the results. This is the highest price ever paid for a medal," said David Redden, Sotheby's vice-president.

The one-inch (2.5 centimeters) diameter medal shows an eagle encircled by a laurel wreath will be exhibited at France's chateau de la Grange, of Gilbert du Motier, the current marquis de La Fayette.

The medal was awarded Lafayette a quarter-century after the death in 1799 of Washington, who as a general led US troops to victory in their battle for independence against Britain.

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