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boplet89

New collector, US WWI Victory Medal, real or copy

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boplet89

Im a new collector, and new to this site, so first of all hello =)

A few days ago i picked up a WWI US Victory medal for £13.50 at a local market. I have suspicions that it is a copy (which I dont really mind as I like this medal) but I was wondering if anyone could give me any tips on spotting the difference between real and copy Victory Medals (particularly US ones). I have trawled the internet but cant find any site that details the differences.

I feel it is a copy for a few reasons, firstly the ribbon looks way to clean and new, although I know these can be replaced. Secondly the metal is a little pitted which i believe is a sign of a copy. Also the figure on the front, above the belt there is a part which seems smoother than the rest of the body armour, like it has been rubbed smooth. The metal feels sturdy enough and doesn't bend but, apart from the things I mention above, the medal looks pretty good. I am going to be purchasing a few books on the subject as I've always been fascinated with militaria and medals but have only just taken the plunge.

As i say, I'm not too bothered if it is a copy, but i dont think its fake. Behind the clasp is the hallmark G27 (think its a makers hallmark)

Im having trouble adding photos, so Iv put them on my photobucket

20131222_18384001.jpg

20131222_183917.jpg

Any help at all will be appreciated

Bill

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depaor01

Welcome to the forum Bill,

I'm a collector and not an expert, but I don' t think the more common Victory medals are faked, and yours looks 100% correct to me.

Happy collecting, and beware of addiction :)

All the best,

Dave.

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boplet89

Welcome to the forum Bill,

I'm a collector and not an expert, but I don' t think the more common Victory medals are faked, and yours looks 100% correct to me.

Happy collecting, and beware of addiction :)

All the best,

Dave.

Thank you Dave for the quick and helpful response. And the welcome :)

So do you think this medal was actually awarded to a soldier, i.e not a replacement

Thanks again

Bill

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depaor01

If it was Cuban, Bulgarian or Thai I would run a mile from it. They are widely faked. U.S. bars for the medal are widely faked also, but if I were looking for a regular US example I would have no problem buying the one pictured.

An expert should be along shortly...

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boplet89

If it was Cuban, Bulgarian or Thai I would run a mile from it. They are widely faked. U.S. bars for the medal are widely faked also, but if I were looking for a regular US example I would have no problem buying the one pictured.

An expert should be along shortly...

Thank you very much, i can tell I'm going to learn a lot from this site. You've been great :)

Bill

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4thGordons

It looks fine to me, (I am not an expert either) if it would be helpful I could post copies of several I have that came with uniform lots and I have no question about their validity.

I believe the US continued to produce Victory medals for quite a long time after the war - you can certainly find mint, unissued ones without too much trouble, so if it is its "newness" that worries you I would not pay too much attention to that although the "pin" on yours does look very very new.

Chris

Edit

Here is an example (much tattier than yours but worn with pride to VFW and Veterans Day parades for years. This one has a France bar.

post-14525-0-93962900-1387749739_thumb.j post-14525-0-55099000-1387749739_thumb.j

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Sepoy

Bill

Welcome to the forum.

I must state that it is very difficult to pass any real comment without actually handling an item, however I think this may be a modern striking. The detail of the Winged Victory's face and armour appears too vague.

I have attached a scan of an example from my collection.

Sepoy

post-55476-0-85246900-1387749339_thumb.j

post-55476-0-70162900-1387749350_thumb.j

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boplet89

It looks fine to me, (I am not an expert either) if it would be helpful I could post copies of several I have that came with uniform lots and I have no question about their validity.

I believe the US continued to produce Victory medals for quite a long time after the war - you can certainly find mint, unissued ones without too much trouble, so if it is its "newness" that worries you I would not pay too much attention to that although the "pin" on yours does look very very new.

Chris

Thanks very much Chris. I thought the ribbon looked newer than the medal, and certainly looks newer in the flesh than in the pic, so could it be a case of the medal being re-ribboned (not sure if this is the correct term)? I suppose that would mean a new pin? Sorry if thoese are ignorant questions. As i say I'm not too worried if it is a later one but it would be nice to have an issued one. Some pictures would be great, although my eye is definitely not trained yet so i dont know if i would be able to tell the difference.

Thanks very much

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boplet89

Bill

Welcome to the forum.

I must state that it is very difficult to pass any real comment without actually handling an item, however I think this may be a modern striking. The detail of the Winged Victory's face and armour appears too vague.

I have attached a scan of an example from my collection.

Sepoy

Sepoy

I can see what you mean, the face on mine looks quite mask-like

Thank you for your pictures and help, and thanks to everyone for the welcomes

Bill

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4thGordons

errrr I just noticed (and I have no idea if it makes any difference) the ring is attached differently, but it is the same as Sepoy's so.....

I suppose an expert is needed!

I'll go and look at my other ones now!

Chris

Edit

So here is the other one I have that I could get to easily. Pinned to a tunic from a local estate and by the looks of the back it has been there a while -- I suppose I should clean that really.

It too has the ring mounted through a tube rather than braised directly to the medal. I do not know the significance of this! (can someone enlighten me?)

post-14525-0-88781400-1387750436_thumb.j post-14525-0-26358000-1387750437_thumb.j

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Sepoy

errrr I just noticed (and I have no idea if it makes any difference) the ring is attached differently, but it is the same as Sepoy's so.....

I suppose an expert is needed!

I'll go and look at my other ones now!

Chris

From memory, the thin suspender as shown in posts 1 and 7 was the first type used on US Victory Medals. Unfortunately, I cannot get to my copy of Laslo's "Interallied Victory Medals of World War One" to confirm this. This suspender was replaced in later issues, because of weakness, with the one used on your example.

Sepoy

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4thGordons

Ahh OK that makes sense - Thanks, Sepoy. Now I have to dig out my other ones and see what they have!

I just looked up Laslo's book -- ouch! I foresee inter-library loan in my future at that price!

Cheers

Chris

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boplet89

From memory, the thin suspender as shown in posts 1 and 7 was the first type used on US Victory Medals. Unfortunately, I cannot get to my copy of Laslo's "Interallied Victory Medals of World War One" to confirm this. This suspender was replaced in later issues, because of weakness, with the one used on your example.

Sepoy

So would they make copies with the old suspender shown in pictures 1 and 7,pr would later copies be made with the newer suspender. Im confused ha ha.

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Sepoy

Ahh OK that makes sense - Thanks, Sepoy. Now I have to dig out my other ones and see what they have!

I just looked up Laslo's book -- ouch! I foresee inter-library loan in my future at that price!

Cheers

Chris

Yes I have just seen the one advertised on Amazon. Fortunately, I acquired my copy years ago - it is in my Office, which has been filled with everything due to a forthcoming visit from Mother-in-Law. I shouldn't complain as she is a lovely lady.

Sepoy

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Sepoy

So would they make copies with the old suspender shown in pictures 1 and 7,pr would later copies be made with the newer suspender. Im confused ha ha.

It is possible that the manufacturer was just tooled up to use the first pattern suspender. I do think from the finish, as well as the definition, that it is a modern produced example. I will state that I am not an expert on US Medals and am uncertain as to how late the Medals were issued by the US Authorities.

Sepoy

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boplet89

It is possible that the manufacturer was just tooled up to use the first pattern suspender. I do think from the finish, as well as the definition, that it is a modern produced example. I will state that I am not an expert on US Medals and am uncertain as to how late the Medals were issued by the US Authorities.

Sepoy

Ok, thanks for the help, i will do some research

Bill

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Lancashire Fusilier

Ok, thanks for the help, i will do some research

Bill

Bill,

Welcome to the Forum, and as Dave previously said, also to the possibly addictive, and yet highly enjoyable world of collecting.

Whilst you have picked a seemingly very common award ( 2.5 million awarded ), and the Victory Medal was a common medal also given by the other Allies, however, the American Victory Medal is unique among the Allied Victory Medal, in that it had a vast array of Stars and Clasps associated with the medal, which are a whole world of collecting in their own right.

The American Victory Medal was awarded to those meeting the following service criteria by serving in the American armed forces between the following dates, in the following locations:

6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918 for any military service.

12 November 1918, to 5 August 1919 for service in European Russia

23 November 1918, to 1 April 1920 for service with the American Expeditionary Force Siberia

Then there were ' Citation Stars ' which could be attached to the medal ribbon, these ' Stars ' were awarded to those who had been cited for gallantry, as with the British

' Mentioned in Despatches ' where an oakleaf device is worn on the medal ribbon to denote a ' MID '. There were both a Silver Citation Star and a Navy Commendation Star.

Then there were both the Army and Navy ' Battle Clasps ' which were attached to the Victory Medal ribbon, and the Clasps were awarded to those who had fought in a particular major battle, with the Clasp bearing the name of the battle. The Army and Navy Clasps both carried the same battle names, but I think the award criteria dates were different for some. Some recipients had several Battle Clasps attached to their Victory Medal depending on which battles they had fought in.

Here are the Army Battle Clasps :-

Aisne (27 May to 5 June 1918)

Aisne - Marne (18 July to 6 August 1918)

Cambrai (12 May to 4 December 1917)

Champagne-Marne (15–18 July 1918)

Lys (9–27 April 1918)

Meuse Argonne (26 September to 11 November 1918)

Montdidier-Noyon (9–13 June 1918)

Oiser-Aisne (18 August to 11 November 1918)

St.Mihiel (12–16 September 1918)

Somme-Defensive (21 March to 6 April 1918)

Somme-Offensive (8 August to 11 November 1918)

Vittorio-Veneto (24 October to 4 November 1918)

Ypres-Lys (19 August to 11 November 1918)

There was also a ' Defensive Sector Clasp ' awarded to Soldiers or Sailors who had fought in a battle which was not one of the battles listed as a Battle Clasp.

Then there were the Navy Operational Clasps, with only one of these Clasps being allowed to be worn on the Victory Medal ribbon, given to sailors who had served in a particular branch of the Navy during particular periods :

Armed Guard: For merchant personnel (freighters, tankers, and troop ship) between 6 April 1917 and 11 November 1918.

Asiatic: For service on any vessel that visited a Siberian port between the dates of 6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918 and from 12 November 1918, and 30 March 1920. For the second period of service, the port visit must have exceeded ten days in length.

Atlantic Fleet: For service in the Atlantic Fleet between 25 May and 11 November 1918.

Aviation: For service involving flying over the Atlantic Ocean between the dates of 25 May and 11 November 1918.

Destroyer: For service on destroyers on the Atlantic Ocean between 25 May 1918 and 11 November 1918.

Escort: For personnel regularly attached to escort vessels on the North Atlantic between 6 April 1917 and 11 November 1918.

Grand Fleet: For personnel assigned to any ship of the “United States Grand Fleet” between 9 December 1917 and 11 November 1918.

Mine Laying: For service in mine laying sea duty between the dates of 26 May to 11 November 1918.

Mine Sweeping: For service in mine sweeping sea duty between 6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918.

Mobile Base: For service on tenders and repair vessels between 6 April 1917 and 11 November 1918.

Naval Battery: For service as a member of a naval battery detachment between 10 July and 11 November 1918.

Overseas: For service on shore in allied or enemy countries of Europe from 6 April 1918 to 11 November 1918.

Patrol: For any war patrol service on the Atlantic Ocean between the dates of 25 May and 11 November 1918.

Salvage: For salvage duty performed on the seas between 6 April 1917 and 11 November 1918.

Submarine: For submarine duty performed on the Atlantic Ocean between 25 May and 11 November 1918.

Submarine Chaser: For anti-submarine duty performed on the Atlantic Ocean between 18 May and 11 November 1918.

Transport: For personnel regularly attached to a transport or cargo vessel between the dates of 6 April 1917 and 11 November 1918.

White Sea: For service on any vessel which visited a Russian port or performed war patrols in the White Sea not less than ten days between 12 November 1918 and 31 July 1919.

Then there were the Army and Navy Service Clasps awarded for non-combat service during WW1, the locations were the same for both the Army and the Navy, with the Navy having the additional location of the West Indies :-

Army Service Clasps :

England (6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918)

France (6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918)

Italy (6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918)

Russia (Any service)

Siberia (Any service)

Navy Service Clasps:

England (6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918)

France (6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918)

Italy (6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918)

Russia (12 November 1918 to 31 July 1919)

Siberia (12 November 1918 to 30 March 1920)

West Indies (6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918)

Many Collectors like to obtain examples of the American Victory Medal with as many ' Battle Clasps ' as possible attached to the ribbon, or they look for particular battles, locations or branches of Naval service.

Attached, is an example of an American Victory Medal with 4 Battle Clasps, the Defensive Sector Clasp and a Citation Star.

So as you can see, you have opened up a whole new collecting world for yourself !

Enjoy the Forum and collecting.

Regards,

LF

post-63666-0-80473100-1387765312_thumb.j

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Lancashire Fusilier

This one has a France bar.

Chris,

The ' France ' Clasp was for non-combat services performed in France during the following dates - 6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918.

Regards,

LF

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Lancashire Fusilier

Here is a photo of a whole string of Navy Operational Clasps which someone has fitted to a Victory Medal ribbon, this would be completely incorrect, as regulations only allowed for one Navy Operational Clasp to be added to the ribbon.

Nevertheless, it shows many examples of the NOCs.

LF

post-63666-0-39538600-1387761896_thumb.j

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Lancashire Fusilier

' Siberia ' Service Clasp, also shows details of the American Victory Medal, including the name of the Medal's designer shown at the bottom right of the medal ' Fraser ' for James Earle Fraser.

LF

post-63666-0-83965600-1387762155_thumb.j

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Lancashire Fusilier

The Citation Star.

LF

post-63666-0-40690300-1387762535_thumb.j

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Lancashire Fusilier

errrr I just noticed (and I have no idea if it makes any difference) the ring is attached differently, but it is the same as Sepoy's so.....

Chris,

Your's is exactly right, good suspension ring fitting, clear ' Fraser ' in bottom right.

Regards,

LF

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Lancashire Fusilier

Bill and Sepoy,

If I were looking for a nice American Victory Medal, I would certainly look for the type of suspension ring fitting shown in posts 6 - 20 - 21, I would also look for a nice clear strike of the Designer's mark ' Fraser ' in the bottom right of the medal's obverse ( front ).

Regards,

LF

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boplet89

Wow, LF, That is a lot of really great info, and thank you for sharing those photos with me. Your right iv opened up a whole new world for myself (iv always collected one thing or another), and collecting medals feels like a really rewarding hobby, and also feels respectful.

I think i may look into clasps for the VM, it is definitely a huge avenue to explore. Thank you again for opening my eyes to this :)

Bill

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Lancashire Fusilier

Wow, LF, That is a lot of really great info, and thank you for sharing those photos with me. Your right iv opened up a whole new world for myself (iv always collected one thing or another), and collecting medals feels like a really rewarding hobby, and also feels respectful.

I think i may look into clasps for the VM, it is definitely a huge avenue to explore. Thank you again for opening my eyes to this :)

Bill

Bill,

As you start collecting, please, please do the research before buying any militaria, as there are so many fakes and fakers out there ready and willing to take advantage of anyone willing to buy their ' junk '.

Once you find a subject you like, read all you can about it, and post questions on this Forum, there are many, many members who will be delighted to assist you, before you buy.

For example, a highly reputable dealer in the U.S. is currently selling an American Victory Medal ( ribbon not perfect ), but the medal is 100% correct with the right suspension ring fitting and has a Battle Clasp and the Defensive Sector Clasp for US$20 ( 14 pounds ).- photo attached.

Enjoy your new hobby, remember ' Buyer Beware '

Regards,

LF

post-63666-0-97316000-1387764535_thumb.j

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