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Gunner Bailey

Value of Death Plaques?

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exuser1

Must admit though the correct term is Memorial Plaque , I can not see how the other terms are un dignified? many of those terms were current when they were issued.

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David Ridgus

WW1 PLAQUES ARE MEMORIAL PLAQUES.THEY ARE NOT....DEATH PLAQUES,DEAD MAN'S PENNIES,WIDOW'S PENNIES,DEATH PENNIES OR ANY OTHER UNDIGNIFIED TERM.BEST W, HOWARD

Not sure why these terms are 'undignified'. They are not modern terms used to denigrate the remembrance of the dead, but, admittedly sardonic or downright cynical, terms coined at the time. I believe they reflect a strand of the British character that served us well in both wars. The British can be cynical about the motives or actions of those who lead us without compromising our support for a course of action those leaders have set us on. No-one doubted the collective determination to win the Great War but equally people did not take at face value everything that was done in pursuit of that victory.

At a basic level the plaque looked like a big penny and was sent to widows - why would we be surprised at the nickname?

David

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yellow

The value of death plaques is based upon the amount of research materials available to the collector, for a given action, in which the service person lost their life

Why do some of you sound so surprised that casualties for the First Day of the Somme sell for more? Have you not considered the large quantity of books and television documentaries on the subject, thus generating increased interest?

If on the other hand I were to tell you I have a plaque here for the attack on the Dujaila, I can guarantee ninety percent of you would have to look that action up, because you have never heard of it......even though it was one of the most costly actions for the Indian Army in the First World War. Why is this, because this action gets three lines in most books and there is no television.

Collectors, collect what they know, they don't collect what they don't. If you do have some anger over this, I suggest you turn into towards the people who make the records available. Only when the records are made freely available for other actions can researchers as well as collectors appreciate and put all memorial plaques in the correct historical context they deserve.

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wainfleet

Yes it is. Yet I find 'dead man's penny' just as bad. 95 years later maybe 'Honour or Remembrance Plaque' might have been used. Was there an official name?

John

I couldn't agree more, and with the other poster quoted here. I remember quite a while back posting that I found the term "death penny" offensive and being surprised that hardly anyone else seemed bothered by it. And as for the utterly vile term "cold meat plate"...!!

A Memorial Plaque means someone died in their country's service, which to my mind merits a degree of respect. Whether you call it a Death Plaque, Memorial Plaque or something similar doesn't matter to me if it's a respectful term, but I can't see anything respectful about any slang term for it, let alone a trivialising, "jokey" one. I wonder whether anyone who uses the term on a forum would talk of a man's "death penny" in the presence of his widow? I suspect most of us would think it inappropriate, in which case surely it's inappropriate anywhere.

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Gunner Bailey

The value of death plaques is based upon the amount of research materials available to the collector, for a given action, in which the service person lost their life

Why do some of you sound so surprised that casualties for the First Day of the Somme sell for more? Have you not considered the large quantity of books and television documentaries on the subject, thus generating increased interest?

If on the other hand I were to tell you I have a plaque here for the attack on the Dujaila, I can guarantee ninety percent of you would have to look that action up, because you have never heard of it......even though it was one of the most costly actions for the Indian Army in the First World War. Why is this, because this action gets three lines in most books and there is no television.

Collectors, collect what they know, they don't collect what they don't. If you do have some anger over this, I suggest you turn into towards the people who make the records available. Only when the records are made freely available for other actions can researchers as well as collectors appreciate and put all memorial plaques in the correct historical context they deserve.

The fact that someone died on the first day of the Somme or the 21st or the 100th should not make the death more or less 'interesting'.

Collectors add values to things that are different to the values of the families and friends of the deceased soldier. To them a loved one has gone forever. This is where collectors with their desire to have collections by name, date, and type screw things up for every body else. If someone has a collection of hundreds of these plaques, they are essentially hoarding and denying the families a chance to get their family property back. Next year interest in the Great War will grow and many families will start looking for Grandad's plaque only to be frustrated that it is being locked away in a collector's 'black hole'. There is no justification for collecting such personal items on an industrial scale.

It's not about records, that's the collectors self justification. It's about people and you can't value the loss of one man above another just because of an accident of time and geography.

John

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trenchtrotter

A bit strong John although I understand your sentiments. If a collector has over 20 or 30 years amassed a collection of say 200 / 300 memorial plaques I could not knock them especially if the research and preservation is preserved and the collection valued for what it is and what it represents.

TT

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Dawley Jockey

I agree with TT, your statement John is a bit strong, I have in the past agreed a number of times with you but on this I have to disagree. You say the plaques/medals belong with the families but a large proportion of the time the reason they are in collectors collections is because the families have no interest in their families history and have sold or given the plaques/medals on.

Dave

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303man

35 Years collecting Plaques 750 / 31 = 21 per year. hardly industrial scale when you consider how many are available on the Net. plus some of these are specimens so never were awarded to a person others with their medals I was given by families. It's horses for courses. I have re united plaques, but when I sold one at what it cost me back to a family only to find it in an Dealers List a couple of months later at a considerably higher sum it did peeve me slightly and makes me think twice about doing it again.

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Gunner Bailey

Please tell me the point of owning 300, 400, 500 memorial plaques and what satisfaction is gained from doing so? I can fully understand owning a handful without having any guilt. However holding on to large number of these plaques seems very wrong.

Times change. In the 1920's and 30's many of these were sold for pennies to allow poor people to eat. That must have been an agonising decision to make. My own family threw out my grandfather's WW1 medals without a thought, that I as a 15 year old at the time might have wanted them.

Just because a previous generation either needed to dispose of plaques and medals or didn't value them, does not mean the current generation should be deprived of owning their family history.

Large collections of hoarded plaques must frustrate many families.

John

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Sepoy

Just because a previous generation either needed to dispose of plaques and medals or didn't value them, does not mean the current generation should be deprived of owning their family history.

John

Are you saying that "Collectors" should be forced to hand/sell back Memorial Plaques and Medals to Families who parted with them in the first place? Totally un-realistic! The items will just be parted again with once the interest of the Celebrations are over, or before as happened to 303man.

At least the items are safe for the future in "Collections" and they will come back on to the market in the due course of time. What did the hype of the 100th centenary do for the remembrance of the Anglo Boer War?

Sepoy

NB from your interests shown do you collect anything???

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Bombadier

Whatever the ethics of collecting etc, the price of a memorial plaque remains the same.

1 plaque = 1 life.

Nigel

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Sepoy

Whatever the ethics of collecting etc, the price of a memorial plaque remains the same.

1 plaque = 1 life.

Nigel

Absolutely

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depaor01

Something that's being missed here is that there's no way of being certain that, even if a collector wanted to return a plaque to the family, the plaque would go to the rightful owners. I am a collector of medals and own only one Memorial Plaque named to Ernest Cooper, may he Rest In Peace. There are 241 men of this name on CWGC, I would like to hear from one of the "belongs to, and should go back to the family" contributers how I could possibly find out which family it "rightfully" belongs to.

Dave.

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Sepoy

The next problem - if the "Family" requests the return of "Unique" Medals/Plaque, due to the number of Generations etc since the war, which Family Member/arm of the Family is the right place for them to go to. You are still going to get arguments happening within "Families" as to who is the correct "holder/owner".

But the fundamental point is "Families", today, still part with items of "Family History" because they have no interest in them or what they represent.

I am no longer an active collector of anything, due to the possibility of having ill heath retirement being thrust on me, but in the last two months, I have rescued a 1914 -15 Star trio, Memorial plaque, Memorial Scroll, paperwork and diary to a Gallipoli Casualty and a Pair, Memorial plaque, Memorial Scroll, paperwork and photograph album to a 1918 Casualty, which were placed in a local Auction by the Families. No special dates etc - I just acquired them to make certain that all the items were kept together.

Personally, I am only interested in the people these items represent, to keep their memory alive. The actual financial worth is of little interest to me.

Sepoy

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trenchtrotter

And being really depressed.....in a world more chaotic than ours, such as Syria / Mexico / Brazil etc etc, where life is hard and cheap, should we ever go that way they are totally worthless as they wont put bread on your table or medicine in your poorly childs mouth!!!!!!

Lets reflect and keep all things in proportion!!!!

TT

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Gunner Bailey

Sepoy, thanks for your post #60.

The only thing I really collect are WW1 grenades. The rest of the stuff I have just passes through and get sold on when I find it less interesting.

What I don't collect is anything that is individually named, such as medals and plaques. You say I'm unrealistic in wanting plaques to go back to families. The only thing that makes it unrealistic is the 'black hole' mentality of collectors who buy and acquire seemingly for the 'rush' of finding something that interests them. I know a couple of collectors who buy regularly from various sources and their homes are more like warehouses than houses. I ask them about something they bought a year ago and the answer is often 'I don't know where it is' or I'd forgotten I bought that'. Collecting is more about acquiring things than the things themselves.

I ask again "Please tell me the point of owning 300, 400, 500 memorial plaques and what satisfaction is gained from doing so?"

If someone with 300, 500, or 750 plaques can give me a same answer then maybe I'll think about it.

What would be nice if a place like the National Memorial Arboretum could have a building where the walls were lined with all the WW1 memorial plaques they could get. Then families would have a place to see their forebear's plaque in context with thousands of others. Maybe the members of this forum (who seem to have thousands by the sound of it) would like to loan their collections to such a worthy idea?

John

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trenchtrotter

John

In the cases you highlight re the collector simply boxes the item, cares little for it and cannot recall items in their collections, I agree as no respect / value. / preservation is occurring. However if catalogued, researched, valued, respected , etc then we have to agree to disagree.

Regards

TT

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Sepoy

The only thing I really collect are WW1 grenades. The rest of the stuff I have just passes through and get sold on when I find it less interesting.

and

The only thing that makes it unrealistic is the 'black hole' mentality of collectors who buy and acquire seemingly for the 'rush' of finding something that interests them. . Collecting is more about acquiring things than the things themselves.

I am no longer a regular collector and only pick up the odd item which catches my eye (5 items this year!) Everything is fully researched and preserved, and before you ask, I have no idea, off hand, as to how many items I own. As for sharing these items, I used to regularly display my collection at numerous specialist and public events, and I am happy to share photographs/scans with all on this Forum. I am not alone and can name numerous other collectors who do the same.

I do not have hundreds of Memorial Plaques, but if someone feels the need to do so, they have every right so long as they are not stolen. Some may question the desire to collect WW1 grenades - it may encourage some to collect live items from the Battlefields!

You seem to be implying that "Collecting Memorial Plaques" a medical condition - ie simply acquiring things. In this case, all us Collectors should seek help. Also, when you have lost interest in an item do you sell it for profit?

By filling a building with Memorial Plaques they will loose their individuality - how could you read an individual Plaque when high up on a wall. If people want to recreate a Memorial Plaque/WW1 Medal group there are modern "Copy" marked replacements available - the advantage being each arm of a Family can acquire them. And before this sets off another argument, this is something I am not happy with, but accept this can be a solution.

Many Memorial Plaques have been, and still are, being disposed of for profit by Families who have absolutely no interest or understanding.

Sepoy

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Gunner Bailey

John

In the cases you highlight re the collector simply boxes the item, cares little for it and cannot recall items in their collections, I agree as no respect / value. / preservation is occurring. However if catalogued, researched, valued, respected , etc then we have to agree to disagree.

Regards

TT

Fair point TT. Better loved than neglected. But how many are like this?

John

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303man

Wait out for the BBC Antiques Roadshow WW1 Special. I think the line I spoke is I would love for them to be displayed somewhere. Having served for 36 years in the Army and still am, I have far more empathy than most for what each plaque means. People will never understand what its like to have a mate next to you one minute and gone forever the next. Nuff Said.

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Dawley Jockey

I for one value and respect the plaques in my collect (18) and I could name ever one without looking and also tell you what regiments they served with, also if someone was to ask me where each one was I could put my hand onto it within a minute or so.

Also as Sepoy said in his reply I regulary display the plaques when I do talks about the First War (normally about 4-5 times a year)

Dave

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Old Owl

I must say that I feel that some of the comments made regarding the collecting of Memorial Plaques are a little misguided when one considers the alernatives. Obviously the man's family have a some time deemed it fit to part with his Memorial Plaque and have literally thrown it to it's fate at the hands of whoever was fortunate to obtain it by purchase or by other means. Many have been discarded on rubbish tips or melted down for scrap. I also know that quite a number are sitting at the bottom of the River Clyde. This story came from a very prominent medal collector who told me that when he was a medical student at Glasgow University, he and some of his fellow students used to skim them across the water to see who could reach the furthest!! Not something to be proud of I am sure you will agree, but at that time a student probably never gave a second thought to what the Memorial Plaque actually represented, and I expect that they skimmed quite well if thrown properly!!

I actually applaud any collector who has saved any of these Memorial Plaques from suffering any one of the aforementioned fates. I cannot see how a collector saving Memorial Plaques can mess it up for anyone other than another collector who may have the man's medal or medals and may wish to reunite the two items. Unfortunately all collectors create 'black holes' by collecting things--but at least they do re-emerge eventually--unlike several of the alternatives!!!

I am also quite certain that the majority of collectors of Memorial Plaques will research each one to the best of their ability, and where possible put a face to the name. In effect they are collecting stories and at the same time preserving or keeping alive the memory of each of those gallant lads and lassies 'who gave their today for our tomorrow'. I do not see how it is possible to criticise a collector for this--can you?

Robert

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Gunner Bailey

But in a collection, they may never be seen again.....

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SteveMarsdin

in the Clyde they may bever be seen again........

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Sepoy

But in a collection, they may never be seen again.....

Collectors are only custodians for a relatively short period of time! They don't last for ever and these items will re-appear, unless in the unlikely case, their Family have absolutely no interest, or care, and chuck them in the Clyde!

Sepoy

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