The medal of a Nazi bodyguard who took five bullets aimed at Adolf Hitler has sold for a “world record price”.

Ulrich Graf received the Blutorden Blood Order Medal after he helped protect Hitler when he tried to seize power in Bavaria in November 1923 – an event known as The Beer Hall Putsch.

The medal was originally priced at £3,500 to £4,000 but instead went under the hammer for nine times that amount, fetching £36,500 at Derbyshire-based Hansons Auctioneers’ Militaria Auction on Friday.

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The overall price paid by the private overseas buyer was £47,450 after the buyer’s premium and VAT were added.

A Nazi eagle is featured on one side of the medal and an image of the Munich monument on the other.

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It was awarded to Graf after he threw himself on Hitler and survived after being shot.

The former wrestler was one of the earliest members of the Nazi Party after it was founded in 1920.

He was one of Hitler’s personal protection squad during the battle – which ended with 16 party members and four officers killed.

Hansons’ militaria expert Adrian Stevenson said: “It’s a world record price for a medal of its type – a phenomenal result.

“Interest in this medal was high right from the start. It’s a remarkable historical piece with a huge story to tell.

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“We know that in the 1950s Ulrich Graf’s family sold everything of his. They wanted no connection with his Nazi past.

Ulrich Graf with Hitler in 1938
Image:
Ulrich Graf (right) with Hitler in 1938

“Our vendor was a British doctor who had a large collection of German Third Reich medals which are among the most popular genres of medals.

“Some countries like France ban the sale of Third Reich but I think that does a disservice to the victims of the Nazis, it is almost like sweeping it under the carpet.

“The Nazis were walking to a monument that honoured the Bavarian Army when they met a police cordon across the road.

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“Police opened fire and Graf took a bullet to the shoulder before throwing himself on Hitler and taking five bullets.”

Mr Stevenson added: “Now Graf was a big, burly wrestler and obviously Hitler was slightly built. Would he have survived those five bullets? Who knows?

“But what Graf did 96 years ago potentially changed the course of history. His name has faded into obscurity since but he is still known in the collectors’ market.

“There was interest in this medal from all over the world including Germany. You’re allowed to collect Third Reich material there but it is illegal to show it in public.”

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