NATIONAL NEWS

Nobel sold for Ukrainian kids shatters record at $103.5M

Jun 20, 2022, 7:13 PM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 8:54 pm

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, gi...

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, gives a short speech after the conclusion of bidding during a charity auction at The Times Center on June 20, 2022 in New York City. Muratov auctioned off his 2021 23-carat-gold medal for a winning bid of $103.5 million, with the proceeds going to UNICEF’s humanitarian efforts to support children and families forced to flee Ukraine and those internally displaced. The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which Muratov helped to cofound, shut down in March due to the Kremlin’s restriction on journalists and public dissent in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Muratov also intends on donating the $500,000 cash award to charity. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Nobel Peace Prize that Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov was auctioning off to raise money for Ukrainian child refugees sold Monday night for $103.5 million, shattering the old record for a Nobel.

A spokesperson for Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale, could not confirm the identity of the buyer but said the winning bid was made by proxy. The $103.5 million sale translates to $100 million Swiss francs, hinting that the buyer is from overseas.

The live auction happened on World Refugee Day. Previously, the most ever paid for a Nobel Prize medal was $4.76 million in 2014, when James Watson, whose co-discovery of the structure of DNA earned him a Nobel Prize in 1962, sold his.

Three years later, the family of his co-recipient, Francis Crick, received $2.27 million in bidding also run by Heritage Auctions.

Muratov, who was awarded the gold medal in October 2021, helped found the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and was the publication’s editor-in-chief when it shut down in March amid the Kremlin’s clampdown on journalists and public dissent in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It was Muratov’s idea to auction off his prize, having already announced he was donating the accompanying $500,000 cash award to charity. The idea of the donation, he said, “is to give the children refugees a chance for a future.”

Muratov has said the proceeds will go directly to UNICEF in its efforts to help children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

Melted down, the 175 grams of 23-karat gold contained in Muratov’s medal would be worth about $10,000.

In an interview with The Associated Press before the auction, Muratov said he was particularly concerned about children who have been orphaned because of the conflict in Ukraine.

“We want to return their future,” he said.

He added that it’s important international sanctions levied against Russia do not prevent humanitarian aid, such as medicine for rare diseases and bone marrow transplants, from reaching those in need.

“It has to become a beginning of a flash mob as an example to follow so people auction their valuable possessions to help Ukrainians,” Muratov said in a video released by Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale but is not taking any share of the proceeds.

Muratov shared the Nobel Peace Prize last year with journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines.

The two journalists, who each received their own medals, were honored for their battles to preserve free speech in their respective countries, despite coming under attack by harassment, their governments and even death threats.

Muratov has been highly critical of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the war launched in February that has caused nearly 5 million Ukrainians to flee to other countries for safety, creating the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.

Independent journalists in Russia have come under scrutiny by the Kremlin, if not outright targets of the government. Since Putin came into power more than two decades ago, nearly two dozen journalists have been killed, including at least four who had worked for Muratov’s newspaper.

In April, Muratov said he was attacked with red paint while aboard a Russian train.

Muratov left Russia for Western Europe on Thursday to begin his trip to New York City, where live bidding began Monday evening.

Online bids began June 1 to coincide with the International Children’s Day observance.

Early Monday, the high bid had been only $550,000. The purchase price had been expected to spiral upward, but perhaps not over $100 million.

“It’s a very bespoke deal,” said Joshua Benesh, the chief strategy officer for Heritage Auctions. “Not everyone in the world has a Nobel Prize to auction and not every day of the week that there’s a Nobel Prize crossing the auction block.”

Since its inception in 1901, there have been nearly 1,000 recipients of the Nobel Prizes honoring achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and the advancement of peace.

The ongoing war and international humanitarian efforts to alleviate the suffering of those affected in Ukraine are bound to stoke interest, Benesh said, adding it’s hard to predict how much someone would be willing to pay for the medal.

“I think there’s certainly going to be some excitement Monday,” Benesh said. “It’s it’s such a unique item being sold under unique circumstances … a significant act of generosity, and such a significant humanitarian crisis.”

Muratov and Heritage officials said even those out of the bidding can still help by donating directly to UNICEF.

___

Associated Press writer Andrew Katell contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Traffic moves on I-15 in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 18, 2023. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)...

Bryan Mena, CNN

Americans are expected to splurge on travel this summer — again

Millions of Americans have taken to the skies, hit the road, fired up the barbecue grill and jumped into the pool this weekend to celebrate the start of summer 2024. Analysts are expecting the Memorial Day weekend to usher in yet another summer of strong consumer spending on travel and other leisure activities.

2 hours ago

This image released by Sony Pictures shows Garfield, voiced by Chris Pratt, in a scene from the ani...

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press

‘Furiosa,’ ‘Garfield’ lead slowest Memorial Day box office in decades

Movie theaters are looking more and more like a wasteland this summer. Neither “ Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga ” nor “ The Garfield Movie ” could save Memorial Day weekend, which is cruising towards a two-decade low.

3 hours ago

Sam Lemon, right, speaks during a news conference with Susie Williams Carter, center, and lawyer Mi...

Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN

A Black teen wrongfully executed for murdering a White woman in 1931. Now, his family is suing to defend his name

More than 90 years after Alexander McClay Williams was wrongfully executed, his family is suing the Delaware County, Pennsylvania, for damages, alleging he was sentenced to the electric chair for a crime he did not commit.

4 hours ago

Several cars are seen heavily damaged outside the remains of a Shell gas station after a suspected ...

Sean Murphy and Julio Cortez, The Associated Press

At least 15 dead after severe weather carves path of ruin across multiple states in the South

Powerful storms have killed at least 14 people and left a wide trail of destruction across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The weather obliterated homes and destroyed a truck stop where drivers took shelter during the latest deadly weather to strike the central U.S.

5 hours ago

Passengers check in at San Francisco International Airport on May 24, 2024 in San Francisco, Califo...

Rebekah Riess, CNN

TSA sets new record Friday for most travelers screened in a single day

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it set a new record for most travelers screened in a single day on Friday, according to a post from the agency on X, formerly known as Twitter.

22 hours ago

President Joe Biden at the US Military Academy commencement ceremony in West Point, New York, on Ma...

Aileen Graef, Athena Jones and Shania Shelton, CNN

Biden touts expansion of NATO and actions in the Middle East during West Point commencement

President Joe Biden touted the expansion of NATO, his actions in the Middle East and progress in lowering military sexual assaults in a commencement address to the West Point graduating class Saturday.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Nobel sold for Ukrainian kids shatters record at $103.5M