Q. How do you make a Victoria Cross?
A. Stick your finger in her ear.
We think you'll agree, that's one hilarious joke. However, we can also furnish you with a factual answer. The Victoria Cross, a bronze medal for war heroics, is actually made from cannons captured at Sebastopol in the Crimean War. This and other historical titbits can be gleaned from an article on the BBC about a peculiar auction taking place in London today.
The very first Victoria Cross awarded to a British army soldier will go on sale today at Spink Auctioneers. But its primacy is not the only facet that makes this lot unusual.
The VC belonged to Major John Simpson Knox, who lost his left arm to a cannonball while attacking the Russians at Sebastopol in 1855. Your cash will not only get you the VC, but also the self-same lead ball which so impudently separated Major Knox from his limb.
For collectors of medal-projectile combination packs, this is a unique opportunity. The seller (who remains anonymous) is also throwing in three other medals won by the aptly named Major Knox. The estimated sale price, at £120,000, will cost you both an arm and a leg.