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Nobel Peace Prize gold medal auction to benefit UNICEF

Heritage will offer the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize gold medal awarded to Russian Journalist Dmitry Muratov at a single-lot auction in New York City on June 20. The medal is housed in its original box with its presentation certificate, and proceeds will benefit UNICEF.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Heritage will offer the Nobel Peace Prize gold medal that was awarded to Dmitry Muratov in 2021 during a special single-lot auction on June 20 in New York City.

The proceeds of the sale will benefit UNICEF’s humanitarian response for Ukrainian children displaced by war.

Heritage said, “It is fitting that the bidding opens on June 1st, International Children’s Day, with the auction to conclude on June 20th, World Refugee Day.”

Russian journalist Muratov and Maria Ressa of the Philippines were the 2021 joint recipients of the prize, recognized for “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” The Washington Post said at the time that their selection sent a strong signal of support for independent journalism, adding, “The decision also sought to call attention to the potential dangers to democracies posed by disinformation and other false narratives presented as facts on social media and elsewhere.”

Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Nobel Committee, said when announcing the winners, “Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda.”

Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta, which he co-founded in 1993, is one of the few strong, independent newspapers in Russia. It suspended production in late March due to Russia’s press laws that limited his ability to truthfully cover the war in Ukraine.

He donated his approximately $500,000 prize money from the Noble Committee to support charitable causes and told The New York Times that the auction was “an act of solidarity’ with the 14 million Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion, which he called ‘a tragedy.’ ”

Nobel Prizes are awarded annually for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace by the Nobel Foundation. Since 1901, 603 prizes have been awarded to 962 individuals and 25 organizations.

The Nobel Peace Prize medal is different than those presented for achievements in literature or science, which are awarded in Sweden and have a different design. The Peace Prize is presented by the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

The gold medal itself was struck by the Mint of Norway in Konigsberg and the edge of the medal carries PRIX NOBEL DE LA PAIX along with the recipient’s name and year of the award, here, DMITRY MURATOV 2021.

The obverse of the Nobel Peace Prize depicts Alfred Nobel in a pose slightly different from that of the other medals, with the reverse representing a group of three men forming a fraternal bond. The surrounding Latin legend, PRO PACE ET FRATERNITATE GENTIUM, translates to “For the peace and brotherhood of men.”

The Oct. 8, 2021, Washington Post article adds, “Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, donated part of his prize money to buy Novaya Gazeta’s first computers and owns a part of the newspaper.”

The Norwegian Nobel Institute supports the sale as a fundraiser, with director Olav Njølstad saying, “This generous act of humanitarianism is very much in the spirit of Alfred Nobel. The intended sale is therefore subject to the wholehearted approval of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.”

Heritage has cited the Nobel Prize gold medal awarded to Francis H.C. Crick in 1962 for his work in discovering DNA, which it sold for $2,270,500 on April 11, 2013, as a possible pricing guideline for potential bidders.

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