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Remembered Today:

Where should gallantry medals be ?


Fred W
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I read in the paper this morning of the sale by auction of the VC awarded to a Gurkha, Agansing Rai for storming Japanese bunkers in Burma in 1944. It was bought at Spink for £ 132,250 by a British private collector. He is believed to be Lord Ashcroft, who has the world's largest private collection of VC's.

Call me old fashioned, and I do not wish to offend any Forum members, but I believe the only places gallantry medals should be are: with the recipient, his/her family or his/her Regiment etc.

What are the views of other members.

Fred

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but I believe the only places gallantry medals should be are: with the recipient, his/her family or his/her Regiment etc.

What are the views of other members.

Fred

I tend to agree with you but I would add 1 proviso and that is that the recipient, or his/her family, or his/her regiment can afford to keep the award.

The sum of money paid for this VC would do a lot more good to the family than keeping the medal.

If it had been my VC I would be only too happy for my family to benefit from the sale.

Garth

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Hi Fred,

In general I agree with you. First comes the family; then the unit.

Most VC's end up in museums, and given the fame which surrounds the Victoria Cross, a museum is probably the best place for the average citizen to view one. However, as recent events here in Canada illustrate, a VC cannot be considered secure even in a museum. Often medals are in storage and copies are on display.

Then comes the private collector. Most of us can only dream of ever having a VC in his or her collection, but some individuals with deep pockets can. I recall back in the 1970's a wealthy collector here in Canada who had some twenty VC's. I even recall that his wife apparently collected gallantry awards (GC's, GM's,etc) to women! Nowadays Lord Ashcroft apparently is scooping up most VC's which appear on the market.

If the nation wants to come up with the funds, the best choice might be for the government to obtain the awards for viewing by the public.To a degree I believe this is being done now.

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i think to seem to forget, if it wasnt for private collecters how many gallantry awards would have survived over the years?

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Fred,

I take your point and i find it very sad that medals do not remain with the recipient or his/her family.

However this happen's for all manor of reasons, i.e. the recipient and or family are short on money, the family do not appreciate the medals and are simply interested in a quick buck, there are no living relatives left for the medals to go to, and so it goes on.

As for medals going to Regimental Museums, well this can sometimes not be as great an idea as it sounds. I've been to a couple of museums where medals are simply thrown into a drawer not to see the light of day again and certainly not reserched or cared for.(This would obviously not be the case with the higher awards such as VC's)

I often think of medal collectors as miniture museums in there own right. After all who else would devote so much time, money and effort into preserving these items and ensuring that as much information as possible is gleaned from them.

Don't get me wrong i'm not saying that this is done by collectors for purely alturistic reasons, however if it means that someone is getting enjoyment out of researching these medals and at the same time preserving them for the future and giving them the attention they deserve, then this can only be a good thing.

After saying all that though, yes i do believe that such important awards as VC's should either be with the Recipient, family or with the Regimental Museum for the public to appreciate.

Cheers,

Ski

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Tend to agree that these should if at all possible stay within the family. Yet in this case Agansing Rai requested that the money raised by the sale of this VC should go to childrens charities in Nepal.

The Telegraph article is scanned, hope it comes out OK, Spinks Catalogue has a three page article on it,quite a citation.

Andy

post-23-1090626713.jpg

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I believe that the recipient of such an award should be able to decide what happens to it. Ideally it should remain with the family or appropriate museum, but if someone would pay well over £100,000 cash for a family heirloom I am sure most would be tempted to part with it: imagine the insurance premium. If a recipient wanted to destroy or return their medal(s), again that is their choice since it is their property and thus an individual concern.

As already stated, private collectors did much in the past to preserve items that would otherwise have been discarded and lost, and to a lesser extent - given the extrinsic value of such awards on today's markets - do so still.

It is just a pity that many museums cannot afford to compete with private individuals or trusts for such items, where they could enjoyed by the public.

Richard

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If I may add my 5 cents worth.

I don't collect medals, although I take an interest in them. There was a case in NZ in 96 I think, where I woman sold her late husbands group (MM, Vietnam) for around 1k. She then went screaming to the media when the buyer a few years later went to sell them off shore, demanding that the govt purchase them and present them back to the family so her children could pass them on.

No, the govt did not repurchase.

It's unfortionate, but in many cases the family simply dosent have a clue what they are doing and I have always felt the safest repository is in a museum or similar. If a person on sells them for financial gain, they really cannot complain if they never come back to them.

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Guest AmericanDoughboy

I personally believe that a Victoria Cross, Medal of Honor, Blue Max or what not should either be kept with his or her family or kept in a public or private museum for care.

-Doughboy

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I read in the paper this morning of the sale by auction of the VC awarded to a Gurkha, Agansing Rai for storming Japanese bunkers in Burma in 1944. It was bought at Spink for £ 132,250 by a British private collector. He is believed to be Lord Ashcroft, who has the world's largest private collection of VC's.

I hereby declare my non-collector status. But as a curious bystander I was wondering - does anyone know how many VCs Lord Ashcroft is supposed to own?

Tom

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maybe he wants to collect enough to melt down and make himself a cannon

enoch

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.

It is just a pity that many museums cannot afford to compete with private individuals or trusts for such items, where they could enjoyed by the public.

The sad fact is that the genuine Medal is rarely ,if ever ,enjoyed by the Public,its place in a display beng taken by a Facsimile,& I cannot see many museums allowing Joe Public "Handling Rights" to study the Medal Close up,@ least with a Private collector one can share the experience with friends,etc @ local exhibitions etc,just my opinion, but Museums can only display a %age of their colllections & much is rarely if ever seen,its an old chestnut which has as many pros & cons,but I feel that as the Medal is the property of the Recipient or their NoK therefore no Government has any right to dictate its fate. :ph34r:

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I feel that as the Medal is the property of the Recipient or their NoK therefore no Government has any right to dictate its fate.

Hello Roger:

How do you feel about the U.S. statute concerning the manufacture, wearing, and selling of the Congressional Medal of Honor?

Chris

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I feel that as the Medal is the property of the Recipient or their NoK therefore no Government has any right to dictate its fate.

Hello Roger:

How do you feel about the U.S. statute concerning the manufacture, wearing, and selling of the Congressional Medal of Honor?

Chris

Hello Chris;

:blink: I heard of this statute some time ago in correspondence with US citizens,My feelings were as theirs,

If an award is made by a Country/Government to a Service Man or Woman as a Mark of their supreme Gallantry,then that award is then theirs to do with as they so wish,to wear it every day,Wear it to Bed!,sell it,be buried in it,I see no problem with that,just because certain Officials get uppity because someone is making a lot of money from seling them either as primary seller or secondary seller,Having given the award what right does the awardee then have to state what you can do with it?? The act for which the Gallantry is awarded can Never be denigrated,it is a matter of Record,the fate of the representation of that Gallantry is inconsequential,

that said what I do disagree with is the apparent wholesale selling of Unawarded 'Replacement' awards from US Contractors that appears to be happening{& that has happened with european awards from some nations for many years}which devalues the whole concept of Awards for Gallantry & Campaign service.this is just my own opinion for what its worth! Roger

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Roger:

Thanks for your opinion. FYI: At the annual Memorial Day wreathlaying ceremony at FBI Headquarters held by the FBIHQ American Legion Post (held the week of the U.S. national World War II Memorial dedication), the FBI turned over 5 Medals of Honor to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, who had 27 members present. These medals were recovered in the course of FBI investigations and were 2 of historical value (named & presented)--one of which was a "double award" MOH to a soldier for his actions at Manassas and Gettysburg. This medal

almost sold for approximately $30,000 on eBay. The other 3 medals were unnamed & unpresented medals which were part of the 300 "extras" made by the company who had the exclusive gov't contract and were sold out the back door

(these unauthorized sales were one of the major things which brought about passage of the statute to protect the MOH).

The MOH statute makes it illegal to manufacture, sell, or the unentitled wearing of a MOH. One of the interesting things about the statute is that it defines "sell" as exchanging anything of value for the medal--money, trade, or barter. Therefore, the manner in which the statute is worded means that the buyer can also be charged as a seller--the buyer has exchanged something of value (money, trade, barter) for the medal.

Readers: Don't construe the above as legal advice.

(My bold)

Chris

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Guest Jeff Floyd

As a 40-year collector of medals, I've long held that medals should be with the recipient or the family. If they don't want the medals, they should go to someone who does want them.

Museums are often happy to display big, flashy medals or medal groups. However, if you think that Uncle Harry's MM and 1914-15 trio is going to get a place of honor, you're sadly mistaken. The vast majority of medals in museums (and I'll exclude regimetal museums) are stuck in boxes in the back room, never to see the light of day.

Collectors usually do far more to keep the history of the recipient alive. I'd rather see my medals with a collector rather than a museum.

Chris' comment about the FBI turning over Medals of Honor to the Medal of Honor Society, brings up an interesting situation. While the Medal of Honor Society was picking up these medals in Washington, someone was stealing 7 Medals of Honor from their badly-secured museum. If a federal law-enforcement agency is turning over evidence (Medals of Honor, in this case) to a private organization, I have a problem. If these medals are excess to the FBI's needs, they should be turned over to a federal museum/institution.

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Roger:

The MOH statute makes it illegal to manufacture, sell, or the unentitled wearing of  a MOH.  One of the interesting things about the statute is that it defines "sell" as exchanging anything of value for the medal--money, trade, or barter.  Therefore,  the manner in which the statute is worded means that the buyer can also be charged as a seller--the buyer has exchanged something of value (money, trade, barter) for the medal. 

[

Very interesting Chris & I certainly agree with the part on banning reproduction,as a point of interest would you know the stance in regard to the CMOH being Gifted to another party,where would the 'recipient';ie the person being given the CMOH by the Original Recipient{Winner} or their NoK; stand if they chose to give the medal to a private Collector,as opposed to a Museum etc,{not that anyone is about to give me one!!}but it would be nice to know "just in case" :blink:

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Roger:

I will see if I can find the answer to your question about the Medal being given as a gift. As for the medals which were turned over to the CMOH Society, I'm sure the cases would have had to have been adjudicated in court beforehand, with the U.S. Attorney's Office pertinent to each prosecution having to give the okay that the evidence was no longer needed.

Chris

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Thank You Chris;

I suppose the same would apply if left as a Legacy in a will also?

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