Defying outrage and opposition from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a German auction house Thursday sold a U.S. Medal of Honor awarded in 1899 for triple the expected price, Stars and Stripes reported.
Hermann Historica, an auction house in Munich, expected the medal — awarded to Army Pvt. Thomas Kelly for his actions during the Spanish-American War — would fetch about $5,000.
It sold for nearly $15,500, the news outlet reported.
"People appreciate these things," Bernhard Pacher, the managing director of Hermann Historica, which specializes in military-related items, told the outlet, adding Cruz's description of the sale as disrespectful was wrong because buyers treasure the memorabilia.
Cruz wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday asking for him to intervene in the sale, Stars and Stripes reported.
Selling the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, and other military medals awarded by Congress is illegal in the United States – but not in Germany.
"I guarantee you, we are going to be flooded now with offers to auction off a Medal of Honor," Pacher told the news outlet. "You'll achieve the opposite of what you wanted with that."
He would not identify the medal's buyer.
According to Stars and Stripes, Kelly, an Irish immigrant to New York City, participated in the Battle of San Juan Hill, as did President Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. The private earned the Medal of Honor after rescuing wounded from the front lines of battle while under heavy enemy fire, according to his award citation listed with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
He died in New York on Dec. 17, 1920 at age 43 and is buried in the Plattsburg Barracks Post Cemetery in Plattsburg, N.Y., Stars and Stripes reported.
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