Auction of Nobel Peace Prize medal raises millions for UNICEF

Melanie May | 24 June 2022 | News

Dmitry Muratov holds his Nobel Peace PRize
Dmitry Muratov with the medal. Credit: Heritage Auctions, HA.com

The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded to independent Russian journalist and Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov has fetched $103.5 million at auction, with all proceeds going to UNICEF.

An anonymous buyer made the purchase at a live global auction event held by Heritage Auctions at the Times Center in Manhattan on Monday night – also World Refugee Day.

The money will support UNICEF’s humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine and affected regions. The charity has already received the funds.

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Muratov explained:

“Several months ago, we at Novaya Gazeta asked ourselves what we could do to stop the war and help these civilians get their lives back. We decided to sell our Nobel Peace Prize medal through Heritage Auctions, which managed the process very efficiently and waived all their fees and commissions completely. We thank them for this.”

Muratov and staff of Novaya Gazeta had already donated the $500,000 cash award presented to them along with the medal, and in a letter of support for Muratov’s decision, Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute Olav Njølstad said that the act was very much in the spirit of Alfred Nobel.

Muratov announced on 22 March that he intended to auction his medal with all proceeds going to support humanitarian relief efforts for Ukrainian child refugees and their families. Shortly after that announcement, he chose to sell the medal through Heritage Auctions with all proceeds intended to benefit UNICEF, subject to due diligence.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell commented:

“UNICEF is honoured, excited and deeply grateful to Dmitry Muratov for his extraordinary generosity – and we are astounded by the unprecedented response to the auction. This remarkable contribution will help Ukrainian children survive this brutal war and, someday, rebuild their lives. We hope Mr. Muratov’s gift inspires others to support vulnerable children in Ukraine and everywhere. We also want to thank the anonymous bidder, whose winning bid will do so much for so many.”

Past Peace Prize donations

The Nobel Peace Prize has been used to raise funds for charity in the past. In 2012 the European Union donated the financial prize element of its Nobel Peace Prize to four children’s charities.