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kevinseddon

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kevinseddon

Would be interested to have some thoughts and opinions from the many medal collectors on this forum with regards to the following moral dilemma that they might one day be faced with: If you had medals in your possession, legally owned but having no family connection,  how would you react to a request from a family member to purchase those medals? 

Happy Christmas.

 

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Derek Black

I'm pretty sure there's a similar thread from a couple years ago on this with lots of advice and similar stories about what people have done in that situation.

[edit] - one thread, there are more.

 

Edited by Derek Black

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depaor01

I would offer them to the family for exactly the price I paid for them.

 

I have done in the past and will continue to do so.

 

Dave

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PhilB

Even if you`d paid peanuts for them many years ago and they`re now worth a small fortune?

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stiletto_33853

This thread from a decade ago. As you can see the subject comes up time and time again.

 

As per Dave, I have re-united families with the medals and normally do so, however it does depend on their attitude. I have been fortunate enough to give the family back the medals as a secretive birthday present arranged through the son of the man in question, after the initial contact was made through this forum. On the other side of things I have been met with hostility and demands that the families medals be returned as their property, no matter that they have been sold into the market by a family member in the first place.

Hence for me it really does depend on the attitude, only too happy to generally and have done so a good few times, only look at myself as the medals guardian.

 

Andy

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Kevin,

This dilemma comes up quite often, in different shapes and sizes: sometimes within the Family, sometimes on the Market.

For example, I managed to juxtapose the MC, MiD group of my late father, with the MC, ED group of my late grandfather. That sounds "Right" (but what is right?): suffice to say that it was easier said than done, when different family branches (who hold these relics) are concerned.

Those medals that are on the Market, are there because at some stage, the family has perhaps carelessly let them shift out of their sphere. Later, less careless members of the family want them back. That is precisely the reason, when I contact families about research, I never breath the word Medals: they instantly become what I call proprietorial. But in fact I own the medals, not them. I am seriously after information and a picture - they just want the medal back. 

I have a typically-generous American collector friend, who has delighted on returning the medals to the family. I realise the satisfaction he gains, of course. Am I a Philistine, just because I want to keep the medals I acquired at a certain price and amidst competition from fellow-collectors?

Kindest regards,

Kim. 

Edited by Kimberley John Lindsay

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depaor01
1 hour ago, PhilB said:

Even if you`d paid peanuts for them many years ago and they`re now worth a small fortune?

 

Yes. I do believe I would. Having said that, very few of my mostly single medals would be worth a huge amount. If I owned a VC and it was obvious to me the family wanted it for monetary gain I'd probably think differently.

 

I would take a hit on the price if I was able to help a caring family member to be reunited with their military history. Any I've dealt with have been quite genuine and thankful.

 

Dave

 

Edited by depaor01

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charlie962

I am sure I would have to pay market value to get my grandfather's medals (should I ever be lucky enough to find them). I would be quite prepared to do so. Someone else in my family must have flogged them off without consultation (I think I know who!). I accept that. I didn't earn the medals myself. I have no right to them but a very reasonable attachment. So I would just be so very satisfied to have them. In the meantime I am happy to assume they are being appreciated by a collector or enthusiast somewhere.

 

If I had medals of someone else's family I would be quite prepared to let them have them back at the fair market price, knowing I would use this towards my funding for a possible eventual recovery on my part and to prevent whoever I've just returned medals to from being tempted just to make a turn. I have done this already, with pleasure. Not to say I would be insensitive to a particular situation. As Andy said, so much depends on attitude.

 

Nothing in my modest collection is actually of great financial value. But I am fully aware as a result of the research I have done, and as a result of reading about the research done by others, that these items represent not just a contact with a period of history but keep alive the memories of ordinary (mostly extra-ordinary) human beings. So I am the happy guardian in the meantime. The fact that there is nevertheless a small financial value attached probably means that they will never be discarded in a junkshop drawer as they mostly were when I found them.

 

Charlie

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Medaler
On 20/12/2016 at 10:31, kevinseddon said:

Would be interested to have some thoughts and opinions from the many medal collectors on this forum with regards to the following moral dilemma that they might one day be faced with: If you had medals in your possession, legally owned but having no family connection,  how would you react to a request from a family member to purchase those medals? 

Happy Christmas.

 

 

Moral dilemma?  What moral dilemma?

 

The benefits offered by collectors.........

 

They tend not to lose them.

They tend not to split groups and distribute odd singles amongst their families when they die.

(Collectors will frequently spare no expense in time, money and effort to actually reunite split groups)

They tend not to let them rattle about together in old tobacco tins.

They tend not to use brasso.

They usually know which way round the ribbons should go.

They usually don't wear them, exposing them to hightened risks of loss, theft and damage.

They don't give them their kids to play with.

 

Whilst my tongue is firmly in my cheek whilst writing this, I think my point is being made.

 

Who, in the best interests of the medals, make the best custodians? Is that the moral dilemma you were talking about?

 

Mike

 

 

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Terry_Reeves

I agree with Medlar, there is no moral dilemma. I have collected medals off and on for some 35 years now and would have no qualms about refusing to return them as some family member sold them off in the first place. I would also want some proof positive that they were family members.  

 

There is a middle course though, offer them first refusal in the event of you wanting to sell if you are happy they are genuine.

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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depaor01

All that having been said, I regularly ponder how different the collecting sphere of British WW2 medals would be if they had been issued named. I have a whole set of stars. No history traceable at all.

 

Dave

 

 

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kevinseddon

My grandfather Alfred Seddon separated from my Grandmother when my father was very young,His brother Harry Seddon was one of the three siblings who ended up in an orphanage when my Great Grandfather drowned in 1895 where they all resided until they were old enough to earn a wage. Great Uncle Harry was killed at the Hohenzollern Redoubt 13th October 1915 aged nineteen. I suspect that his mother parted with his medals for reasons of poverty rather than carelessness but I really have no idea. I spent a week in northern France this year following his footsteps and paying my respects at the Arras and Hohenzollern memorials. I also helped to fund and plant 17 oak saplings in memory of the 17 Barton-upon-Humber pals who died alongside him on that fateful day. 

Being generally interested in the Great War I came across the fact that a collector (with no family connections) had possession of his medals and death penny and set out to reunite them with the Seddon family. Sadly, after finally making contact,  it became obvious that he was reluctant to part with them.

My post on here was to gauge the opinions of the collectors on this forum and I am very grateful to receive your replies.

 

20121110_160523_1.jpg

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depaor01

Sad.

 

Personally, speaking as a collector, I would have no problem reuniting that set with the family considering the additional information you've given. I would feel very very guilty hanging on to them if I was approached by the family.

 

Dave

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Dave,

Yes, one might feel somehow guilty, but it is not the present owners fault, surely! There are two sides to every story, not just the aforementioned (although Kevin Seddon has my sympathies).

One must see the reasons the present owner of the medals and plaque has (or had) for hanging on to them: pure cussedness? Perhaps he had other Hohenzollern Redoubt groups? 

Personally, I have never touched so-called Casualties. I collect to Officers who had a life full of incident - oftentimes with a good story of the Empire-building type. But even in this case, I have twice come into quite close-contact with family: I, seeking information, they, unaware that I possess "their" (they somehow think) medals.

In the nicest possible way, I try to obtain the information about the recipient, including the all-important photo, but circumnavigate the awkward "medals" question. When asked why I want to know about the recipient, I truthfully reply that I am conducting research into (as an example) Old Contemptible NCOs who gravitated to the IARO.

Of course I would like to - tabula rasa - come clean and say, look, Mate, I own his medals.

The problem is, the "family" wallah will then think that 'by rights' he or she should own them. One could naturally then say: 'You can have them for 500 quid.' Any serious-minded family-person would gladly pay that - even if the medals were worth, say, 350 Pounds. But this is selling for a profit.

However, I am a collector. In both cases the medals in question were acquired only after considerable effort on my part - in competition with other collectors. Therefore, I don't want to sell them even for a profit (money means nothing to me), after all I collected them for my Collection!

One could go on and on...

Kindest regards,

Kim. 

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PhilB

Is this proprietary attitude towards rellies` medals a recent development? It didn`t seem to happen when the medals were worth peanuts!:(

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royalredcross

I think it started about the time the film "Zulu" came out and the worth of a Rorke's Drift defender became obvious.  A large number of people developed a sudden interest in their family history. 

Norman (cynic). 

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depaor01
2 hours ago, Kimberley John Lindsay said:

Dear Dave,

Yes, one might feel somehow guilty, but it is not the present owners fault, surely! There are two sides to every story, not just the aforementioned (although Kevin Seddon has my sympathies).

One must see the reasons the present owner of the medals and plaque has (or had) for hanging on to them: pure cussedness? Perhaps he had other Hohenzollern Redoubt groups? 

Personally, I have never touched so-called Casualties. I collect to Officers who had a life full of incident - oftentimes with a good story of the Empire-building type. But even in this case, I have twice come into quite close-contact with family: I, seeking information, they, unaware that I possess "their" (they somehow think) medals.

In the nicest possible way, I try to obtain the information about the recipient, including the all-important photo, but circumnavigate the awkward "medals" question. When asked why I want to know about the recipient, I truthfully reply that I am conducting research into (as an example) Old Contemptible NCOs who gravitated to the IARO.

Of course I would like to - tabula rasa - come clean and say, look, Mate, I own his medals.

The problem is, the "family" wallah will then think that 'by rights' he or she should own them. One could naturally then say: 'You can have them for 500 quid.' Any serious-minded family-person would gladly pay that - even if the medals were worth, say, 350 Pounds. But this is selling for a profit.

However, I am a collector. In both cases the medals in question were acquired only after considerable effort on my part - in competition with other collectors. Therefore, I don't want to sell them even for a profit (money means nothing to me), after all I collected them for my Collection!

One could go on and on...

Kindest regards,

Kim. 

 

Kim,

 

I agree with every point you make. As I said before, if I was approached and got a whiff of entitlement from the family or "they belong to us" attitude I would certainly take umbrage.

 

I deliberately didn't comment on that collector's unwillingness to part with them. Mine was just a personal view.

 

Dave

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John_Hartley

Not medals but a book. I acquired it some years back, at no cost and not realising that it was rare and quite valuable (more so as it was signed by the author). I mentioned it on a thread here and, in due course, a member of the family contacted me asking to buy it. I agreed and had absolutely no qualms in charging a significant price for it.

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Jim Strawbridge

I have several medals in my collection where relatives are aware that I have them. The compromise that I have reached is that I have put their name, address and interest in the medals with the medals and when I "go on" the medals will be offered back to the family member.

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bif

All supposed "rights" to previous ownership of medals ends with the drop of the hammer or clearance of the payment.  There is no OBLIGATION for a collector to sell, offer, or even communicate with family of the original recipient or other collectors who are interested in the same soldier.  The choice is ENTIRELY that of the current OWNER,(holder to be more polite), and no one else's.  This can be somewhat difficult at times, but it is the truth.

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Derek Black
49 minutes ago, bif said:

All supposed "rights" to previous ownership of medals ends with the drop of the hammer or clearance of the payment.


Except in the rare circumstances when there's documented history of them leaving someones possession by theft.

The question is, how do people feel about keeping medals from a family that would like to acquire them, regardless of which set of circumstances by whom in the family and when made them available to collect.

Like all choices, it's a personal one.

 

Derek.

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Medaler
3 hours ago, Derek Black said:


The question is, how do people feel about keeping medals from a family that would like to acquire them, regardless of which set of circumstances by whom in the family and when made them available to collect.

Like all choices, it's a personal one.

 

Derek.

 

A few things that I don't think have been mentioned yet..................

 

1/   The family, just like collectors, are only temporary custodians. When the family member who is interested in this stuff passes away, there is a good chance that they will simply go back "on the market". If disposed of to the family at a beneficial rate therefore, it is then the family that will profit by their subsequent resale.

 

2/   Is a family "interest" in a group of medals greater than that of the collector? Simply answered, that would be a "no". They are both interested for perhaps different reasons, but if the collector had not been interested in them, he/she would not have bought them in the first place. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that it is because collectors are interested in them that they are still around. If they had no value, and had all been scrapped, the families who have disposed of them would have been left with nothing to squabble about.

 

3/   Where does this "family have priority" ethos take us with medals of very high values held in the collections of museums? The families know that, in these instances, they have absolutely no hope of stumping up the funds to buy them back. Would a museum give valuable objects back, and bow to their supposed "entitlement" to have them? I can't see that happening in a month of Sundays. In this instance, is a group in a museum collection somehow different to a low value group in a private collection?

 

Putting my own cards firmly on the table. If I had medals that a family would like to own, they would have to wait until I had decided that I wanted to sell them. They may however be in for a long wait, because I am a collector rather than a dealer. If I ever did decide to sell, I would list them on an online auction and notify the family of the listing number. That takes the price out of my hands and prevents any accusations about "cashing in" on their supposed "special interest". At the same time, it also gets me a fair market value. The way my mind works, that would be absolutely fair to all concerned.

 

The very concept that collectors "keep medals away from families" is a non starter. It assumes that they have a special and somehow superior claim to their ownership, and they don't.

 

Mike

Edited by Medaler
Grammar correction

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stiletto_33853

As an aside and why I say that it depends on the attitude adopted by the family now. Recently, in the last couple of years, I had a quite nasty episode with a family (very distant relations to the man) about a photograph album that I have had for some time.

The album was found in a builders skip by a one time member of this forum, when the last immediate family member died and the estate had sent the builders in to renovate the property before selling it. The one time member went through the proper channels asking the builder if he could remove the album which they agreed to and advised the executors who had no problem, then contacted me knowing of my interest in the man and the battalion.

Now I must repeat the family I had trouble with were very distant relations indeed. However through a bit of detective work on their part and a picture from the album being reproduced in a book they contacted me demanding their families property be returned to them, that was their opening gambit. On refusal they demanded high quality scans of every picture in the album which was refused due solely to their attitude. This got quite nasty with them threatening legal action, that finished it for me, my reply was "go ahead" if this album was so important to you and you were close family (IF) then why was the album allowed to end up in a builders skip and if you were close family why had the executors given permission for the album to have been removed from the skip without informing you as you claim to be family!!!

End result is that the man went to a well know public school. The album, which is in two parts being his school time and his time at the front, was taken to the schools archivist who stated that there were pictures in the album they had never seen and were very keen to have it. I agreed to donate the album to the school when I had finished with it which they were very happy with and I informed the so called family that it would be donated to the school either when I had finished with it or leave it to them in my will but it would in either case be sometime!!

A couple of the pictures from the album have since been used by people asking for permission to use them in a book which was granted on the stipulation that it was acknowledged as solely in a private collection with the name index removed from the pictures.

 

Andy

Edited by stiletto_33853

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Kitchener's Bugle

Last year I was contacted by the Police with an enquiry that they had from a person living in Australia,

 

I had unknowing bought a simple BWM a few years before which happened to be from a group of medals that had been stolen several years before. This was an MM Group and the subject was from my home town which is why I had acquired it. 

Following various communications the family agreed to provide me with the cost of the purchase and I subsequently sent it to Australia.

The Police took a common sense approach and Knew that I had not knowingly done anything wrong!.

All ended well. 

 

 

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear KB,

Yes, no doubt nasty, when the Police get involved. One has done nothing wrong, after all! 

In the case of the errant BWM, it would seem to be less of a problem than, say, a long Keeper Group with some scarcity about it.

(I hesitate to say 'rare' because even with interesting combinations or rather special Recipients, these things were issued in the thousands - simply because so many decent men were obliged to do gallant things.)

I have a number in my collection which would fit the bill: some from reputable dealers, others quite unknown. One just does not know.

Thanks for your contribution!

Kindest regards,

Kim.

Edited by Kimberley John Lindsay

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