The family of a Black Country hero are "bitterly disappointed" after a replica of his Victoria Cross was auctioned for £1,200 – around three times its estimated value.
"If I'd known it was going to fetch that much, I probably wouldn't have come," said Ron Matthews, a nephew of Alfred Sephton VC, after the auction at Cuttlestones' sale rooms in Clarence Street, Wolverhampton.
Mr Matthews had hoped to buy the replica VC, issued 20 years ago after the original medal was stolen from its display case in Coventry Cathedral.
"It is a bitter disappointment," said the 69-year-old former Royal Naval Reserve officer who travelled from his Gloucestershire home to bid. "It would have been nice to have it. It has now probably passed out of the family."
Cuttlestones estimated the replica VC and associated paperwork and press cuttings would fetch between £300 and £500.
But a frenzy of bidding opened at £300 and quickly rose to more than £1,000 as two anonymous telephone bidders fought for the memorabilia.
Alfred Sephton who grew up in Thomas Street, Wolverhampton, and attended Dudley Road School, was a 30-year-old petty officer on the light cruiser HMS Coventry when it was attacked by German bombers off Crete in May, 1941. His VC was awarded for the example he showed in staying at his post and directing fire despite his wounds. The original Victoria Cross was stolen in 1990 and has never been recovered.