Russian journalist, Dmitry Muratov auctions off his Nobel Prize medal to raise money for Ukrainian child refugees.
On Monday the Nobel Peace Prize broke the old record for the highest selling price for a Nobel prize, which previously was $4.76 million. On June 20, the gold medal was auctioned off for $103.5 million. The 23-karat gold medal would be worth $10,000 if it were melted down.
The previous record was held by James Watson in 2014. He received the award for the co-discovery of the structure of DNA and sold it for almost $5 million. The family of Watson's co-recipient, Francis Crick, received $2.27 million in bidding run by Heritage Auctions, which is the same company that auctioned off Muratov's medal Monday, on World Refugee Day.
Muratov founded the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and was the publication's editor-in-chief when it shut down in March amid the Kremlin's plans to silence journalists and public disagreement of the country's invasion of Ukraine.
Even after announcing the donation of the accompanying $500,000 cash award to charity, Muratov had the idea to auction off the Nobel prize, saying to The Associated Press that it "is to give the children refugees a chance for a future." All proceeds will go directly to UNICEF to assist in its efforts to help children who are struggling because of the war in Ukraine.
"We want to return their future," says Muratov in an interview before the auction, expressing deep concern for the children who have been orphaned because of the war.
In a video released by Heritage Auctions, Muratov says, "It has to become a beginning of a flash mob as an example to follow so people auction their valuable possessions to help Ukrainians." The auction company is not taking any share of the proceeds to show their solidarity with the devastation happening in Ukraine.
Muratov, along with another journalist from the Philippines, Maria Ressa, received medals to honour their efforts of emphasizing the importance of free speech in their native countries despite the harassment they have undergone by their governments and numerous death threats.
In April, Muratov said he was attacked with red paint while riding a Russian train.
The war in Ukraine is not the only political action that Muratov has been critical of. He was also critical of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. Together the two conflicts have caused nearly 5 million Ukrainians to flee to other countries for safety, thus becoming the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.
Bidding began on June 1, in accordance with Children's Day in Ukraine, and concluded Monday night. The live bid on Tuesday night opened at $787,500 and quickly reached the millions, going higher and higher. In the Heritage Auctions video, within 23 minutes of starting the auction, one caller claimed the prize by bidding $103.5 million and the room erupted in cheers.