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Tim Brecknock

Medal Collectors

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HarryBettsMCDCM
when the medals could be back in the bosom of the families where they originated..

All well & good until you realise that the end of the Great War is now @ least 91 years ago,& there are in most cases three or four generations down the line; ~ how many potential "Family Members" that makes, who tentatively, have equal claim to 2,3 or so medals?? A very large "Bosom" indeed!!

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SiegeGunner

There will no doubt be instances where family members resent medals being in the hands of a collector - usually, I suspect, because the medals descended to someone in their family who cared nothing for their sentimental value, and sold or otherwise disposed of them. But when interest revives after several generations, I would expect family members to be grateful that the medals still exist and are cherished. Knowing that family medals are in the possession of an active collector can surely not be any worse than knowing they are in a regimental museum (where they may not even be on display). A private collector is more likely to be willing to sell them back into the family, or at least to provide photos/documentation - perhaps even to get together and view them.

As a non-collector, I'm not entirely comfortable with all the factors that matter to collectors, but I do recognise their constructive role in maintaining the continuity of remembrance. I currently have custody of a 'box of bits' that a friend rescued from a skip a number of years ago. It includes a 14/15 Star, a plaque, an MSM, ribbons for other medals, and related documentation - the medals relate to two different men, and it's clear that my friend didn't find everything that was thrown into the skip. The MSM, if I'm not mistaken, is solid silver, but it still ended up in a skip, so avarice is obviously not always a factor. On the basis of this limited personal experience, I find myself, broadly speaking, on the side of the collectors ...

Mick

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Jesse

Interviewing veterans, their families, and working with letters, documents, and photos for may years, combined with my own experiences, left me with little interest in commendation medals. Far too many men didn't get medals who deserved them, and many others received awards they did not deserve. Politics, favors, connections, rank, favoritism, etc, etc, could often play a role in commendations, and that continues to this day. Many men died never having received recognition, and if you talk to veterans, or dig a little, you won't have to go far to find inconsistencies. For that reason I much prefer to opt for things that veterans actually carried with them, or letters that they wrote. These are things that really were a part of their lives and their service, and, for me, have much more meaning.

I see that there are a lot of medal collectors on this forum, and I am one myself of almost 20 years.

I am just wondering how the "non collector" views us?

Dont spare the cander. I am keen to know!

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KONDOA

I used to think medal collectors were vermin, until I realised that perhaps the only people that may actually have an interest in the medals were the collectors. I do however despise to some extent the trade (eb0g) in medals that overly monetises the medals.

I would love to know that a set of medals I have been searching for for many years is safely in the hands of a collector as it would appear the family did not cherish them in the same way for various reasons.

Roop

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27thBN
I thought it worth adding that I was contacted by a collector who knew an elderly lady who's family medals I had in my collection. The 'group' consisted of a pair and plaque which I originally purchased for a good price. I had extensively research the soldier and pinpointed where he fell. I immediatley offered the group to the lady at the price I paid (I could of listed on eBay if I wanted and fetched a lot more but didn't)

In the end the lady changed her mind but the offer and willingness was there on my part.

We aren't demons as some people think !

Neil

Too true Neil if the person can really confirm who they are and are willing to buy it of you at market price with the research etc you put into it well I would sell it back .The Post i replied to from a long time ago was if they didnt have the means to buy it back .I dont think many of "US "collectors would just be giving them away.especially as in one of my posts if the Group In my case is a double gallantry that i have one of that i may never see again ..then its a big problem .

Cheers MC

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west coast

mc,

i must have been given my grandads medals by one of the 'collectors' not the 'us' bracket. and may i say not a quid [euro] was asked for them. the group consists of qsa five clasp, ksa, trio, and an immed msm.

mike.

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Deerhunter

Interesting thread, and a good read.

One thing that strikes me is the number of WW1 campaign medals you see that have not been worn. Issued in the early '20's, unless the recipient was still serving, or had had his entitlement mounted for civilian wear they would, in the main, be items kept "in some box", "in a drawer", or some other vague place, possibly taken out occasionally and looked at, possibly not. Their issue date, being post-war, would make them (clearly) not of wartime vintage and, although directly connected, not a part of that experience - if that makes sense? Maybe many of the original recipients may not have wanted to publicly dwell on their experiences and may have wanted to simply "get on with things" - as was a common sentiment of that era. Obviously, there would have been a broad spectrum of emotions, we cannot generalise.

So what we have potentially is, in broad terms, two camps: one in which the relative's medals are valued, prized, an object or objects of immense pride (by the recipient themself or by the family) and one where they were not. This would translate down the generations and either be maintained in the family in the case of the first group, or suffer further neglect, in the case of the second.

We, in this community, will fall squarely into the former. We would not be reading these pages if we did not share the same appreciation and pride in these people and their contribution, and the determination that they should not be forgotten. For the majority of us here, whether collectors, researchers, or whatever form our interest manfests itself it would seem inconceivable that we could sell a relative's medals or belongings (althought I appreciate that "hard times" since the end of the Great War have necessitated this). The fact is, though, that an overwhelming number of the surviving families of these people simply do not care, and they have very little interest in their relatives' service and sacrifice. That's why medals are sold, thrown away, scrapped, etc. All we are seeing now is a reflection the market value of these items.

Collectors appreciate whatever they collect for the intrinsic, non-monetary value of the item. Medal collectors, in their own way, resurrect, maintain, and perpetuate the focus on this piece of individual social history - let them do that with the same sentiment we all do. Few, if any bona fide collector would see their hobby in purely financial terms. Dealers are in it essentially to make money - accept it; together with the concept that there are good and bad sides to every aspect of anything human.

I can see, in reading this thread, that a lot of emotions have surfaced and that one Forum member has left. Debates are there for the debating, and very few people change their opinions.

For the record, I'm not a medal collector or a dealer. I have my own, framed, on my hall wall, not worn since I left the Army two years ago. I also have representative sets of those of my Grandfather and Great Uncle - the originals of the latter two sets "disappeared" in the 1990's from my Grandfather's house, and were apparently sold by a family member who was acutely aware of their monetary value. If anyone out there has them, I'd be interested to hear from you - and would pay more than market rate for your trouble. They are a MM/1915 Star Trio to 18860 Pte Richard Towers, Kings Own (Royal Lancaster) Regt, and a 1914 Star and Bar Trio to 1205 Pte James Towers, Seaforth Highlanders (bizarrely, a pre-War Regular in that Regiment, from Manchester).

All the best for the New Year to collector and non-collector alike!

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Ken Lees

I bought a 1914-15 Trio last month, via ebay, to a man who served in the 9th King's Liverpool Regiment. The medals were in Canada and when they arrived I realised that the seller's surname was the same as that of the recipient. I thought that there could be two possible reasons for this, either the seller was related to the recipient, or he had bought them because of the name. Many collectors use their surname as a central theme to their collection.

I e-mailed the seller, conforming the arrival of the medals and asked him if there was a family connection. He told me that the medals were his grandfather's and that he was selling them because he wanted the money. I would add that the price I paid was the lower end of the going rate for a trio. I explained my collecting/research interest and that I intended to research his grandfather's life and military service, asking if he could give me any further information to start me off on the search. He could only add his grandmother's details and some information about where they lived.

My research to date has discovered his marriage details, his family addresses going back to the 1840s, newspaper articles, photographs of the family business ( a printers/stationers on the main street in my home town) and various other bits and pieces.

The medals them selves have been re-mounted and stored with other similar groups.

All in all, I now know (and care) more about the seller's grandfather than he does. I think that is sad, but the seller was free to make his decision and chose to pass the medals on to a collector for a few pounds. Perhaps he didn't give a thought to future generations of his family who may want to know where their ancestor's medals are.

Ken

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HarryBettsMCDCM
... I now know (and care) more about the seller's grandfather than he does.

As is so often the case,it takes an interest & dedication to research a recipient,something which often many folk have neither the time nor inclination to do amongst the "public at large";to them it might just as well be centuries ago as just a few decades,unlike those who use a site like this were most are intune with that history & that of their forbears,to many others however; they may just be a name on a photograph...

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Batech

Hi

I am not a medal collector, but I am desperatly trying to locate some of my familys war medals and death plaques.

I would hope out of common decency that if a collector had my familys medals etc in his \ her collection and if they knew that I was looking for them, they would be willing to sell back the items and allow them to be back with the family where they belong.

I can't understand anyone selling something like their Great Grandfathers medals for money, as in my case they are worth more than just money.

Gary.

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stephen p nunn
Hi

I am not a medal collector, but I am desperatly trying to locate some of my familys war medals and death plaques.

I would hope out of common decency that if a collector had my familys medals etc in his \ her collection and if they knew that I was looking for them, they would be willing to sell back the items and allow them to be back with the family where they belong.

I can't understand anyone selling something like their Great Grandfathers medals for money, as in my case they are worth more than just money.

Gary.

So how did they leave your family then Gary?

SPN

Maldon

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Batech
So how did they leave your family then Gary?

SPN

Maldon

Hi Maldon

To be truthfull I honestly don't know, they could have been passed down the line, sold, who knows, but I can tell you that if they had ever come to me I would never part with them.

If they were passed down the line they certainly never reached me, and the only person who may have known was my Father who sadly passed away in 2008, He never had one of the sets of medals I am looking for, but he may have had an idea who they may have been entrusted to.

I used Grandfather as an example, In this particular case it is My Uncle who's medals I am trying to find, who was actually killed in WW2.

Since I got involved in the family history, there are quite a few bits a piece's I would like to try and locate.

I get the fact that Collectors look after and research the items they get, and all I am saying is if a future generation relative is now trying desperatly to find something that once belonged to His or Her Family, and a collector has that Item, they should be willing to part with it so it can be added to the jigsaw puzzle of family history.

PS: I know my Father never had the particular medals I am talking about, and also that he would never have parted with them, He did however have some step brothers.

Regard's,

Gary.

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Jesse

I would be interested to hear of any actual cases of family members pursuing through the courts the claim of right to possession of medals or militaria.

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auchonvillerssomme

Why should they be treated differently from any other item, if they are disposed off before or after the persons death outside the family, then it would be like me tying to reclaim that old Capri Ghia dad sold in 1980. Desirable but highly unlikely. Lets face it we are sons of our fathers, if they disposed of our inheritence, well then maybe they aren't the men we think they were. And please don't give me that guff about buying a loaf of bread for a starving family.

Mick

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stephen p nunn
Hi Maldon

To be truthfull I honestly don't know, they could have been passed down the line, sold, who knows, but I can tell you that if they had ever come to me I would never part with them.

If they were passed down the line they certainly never reached me, and the only person who may have known was my Father who sadly passed away in 2008, He never had one of the sets of medals I am looking for, but he may have had an idea who they may have been entrusted to.

I used Grandfather as an example, In this particular case it is My Uncle who's medals I am trying to find, who was actually killed in WW2.

Since I got involved in the family history, there are quite a few bits a piece's I would like to try and locate.

I get the fact that Collectors look after and research the items they get, and all I am saying is if a future generation relative is now trying desperatly to find something that once belonged to His or Her Family, and a collector has that Item, they should be willing to part with it so it can be added to the jigsaw puzzle of family history.

PS: I know my Father never had the particular medals I am talking about, and also that he would never have parted with them, He did however have some step brothers.

Regard's,

Gary.

Gary - if it is your Uncle's medals you are after and he was killed in WW2, if it is purely WW2 medals (and he didn't serve in WW1), then they wouldn't be identifiable as his as they wouldn't be marked (wheras GW medals are). If you find out his entitlement, then you should be able to reconstruct the set at a fairly modest price (depending on what they were - GS, Defence, Stars etc).

Regards.

SPN

Maldon

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rmarg-jim

Hello,

I am not a medal collector but I would like to make a point that hasn't been raised and to thank collectors in general;

One of my researches is the 1st & 2nd Imperial Light Horse (South Africa) 1899-1915, particularly the German South West Africa campaign 1914-15. The only regimental roll I've found is for 1902 and other sources are few and far between, and yet I have around 200 names for the ILH in GSWA..... about half form the casualty rolls, but the other half have come from collectors who have either listed the medal details in the sale bumpf, or passed it on to me anyway.

Without this information provided by these diligent people, my research would not have got very far.

So, Thank you Collectors!

Jim.

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27thBN

Thanks very much jim i have had a really bad hair day so a bit of cheer is great ..

very nice and never previously had post with these exact thoughts ..custodian is much better... :D :D :D

MC

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MartH

I am not a medal collector I am something even lower down the scale of life a book collector.

I would like to add my twp penny worth which comes from our excursion to Waterloo this November and discussing remembrance . It was with reference to some identified battle skulls dug up a hundred years ago and displayed as curios. We where discussing how soldiers from the Waterloo campaign where never remembered as GW deaths. And then next door to the skulls was a Waterloo medal written up a la GW, describing and remembering the man.

Keep up the good work!

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Anthony Bagshaw
I would be interested to hear of any actual cases of family members pursuing through the courts the claim of right to possession of medals or militaria.

How if they were sold by someone in the family? Surely you don't mean they have any claim whatsoever to the medals if they were sold on?? If they were stolen then they may actually have any claim to the medals, but not if they were sold on

I have read of collectors buying medals and later finding that they were stolen years ago and being made to hand them back to the recipient themselves, NOT the families, by the authorities.

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HarryBettsMCDCM
And please don't give me that guff about buying a loaf of bread for a starving family.

That perception often causes amusement,in the 1920s, a group of medals would have been "pawnable" for around a Shilling,[1/~] if that!! {5p!!} A loaf possibly, but the Gold Watch* was a much more lucrative commodity, & re~pawnable, at regular intervals along with the Sunday Suit!! [* & much more frequently found with the tell tale etchings to record its "history"]

& from the hundreds of Medals that have passed through my hands in the past 50 years I have only ever had two Medals scratched with the customary Pawnbroker Marks {eg:H//= or similar} both were Victorian,from perception most WW1 Medals now on the market & in Collectors hands,seem to have originated from the Families in the 1960s onwards {when a trio would still only command around 10/~,an MM a pound or two!!} & even more being found by family members a generation or three later & auctioned on sites such as "eBay", etc;along with various other household goods.I suspect very few Great War Medals were pawned,they had very little intrinsic value,gallantry awards to a broker are/were only valued at bullion prices along with the War Medal,the bronze medals would be to them practically worthless.

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dycer

Harry,

You touch on an emotive subject.

For example my Mother's Father disappeared,for Months on end,at the sea,where his Medals were earned,after the War.

The Medals,were never pawned,but equally my Grandmother,had to run a House,without an absent Husband.

Whether the handkerchief my Grandfather brought back from his foreign trips,made my Mother feel good,is open to debate but equally my Mother,skated over the lice in her hair.what it was like to growing up and realising she was a women,with no advice, and her Mother trying to balance the Household bills in her Husband's absence.

I don't mind using a hankie,but even now I dare not use the one,my Mum's Dad,gave her as a present. :D

George

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HarryBettsMCDCM

That is the one thing I, {even as an avid Collector of Medals} find hard to equate,Medals per se are in the main, records of after the event,save for the early days of the Imperial Armies of Victoria,rarely worn in Battle or on Service,& consequently only associated to the recipient once the fighting has stopped!!,they have little if any relation to the events that the recipient went through,unlike items of personal kit,badges,uniform,headwear,letters & documents,They are but a physical record of previous doings & often the only tangible thing left that proves a Man or Womans existence & I in all honesty suppose that is the reason I collect them,but there is very little logic to it if you sit down and think about it..... :blush::poppy:

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wainfleet

Gosh, what a big thread this is.

I don’t collect medals, though I have one MGC pair and one GF’s trio. I would love to acquire the other GF’s trio, but this went to another branch of the family and they no longer have it. Whoever’s now got it is entitled to do whatever they want with it, and whilst I’d hope if I located it that I could persuade them to sell it to me, I don’t actually have any “right”, whether legal, moral or any other sort, to claim it. If they were pleasant about it but determined to hang onto it because of their interest in the Wiltshire regiment, I would accept the situation. If they were thoroughly offhand, dismissive, rude or otherwise unpleasant, then obviously I’d arrange through a witch to have them struck down with a painful wasting disease, but that would be for their discourtesy rather than having the temerity to hang on to their own property.

I regularly buy items I consider cheap to sell at a profit to subsidise my collecting. I once purchased an RFC MC for this purpose and then discovered it had belonged to the great-uncle of a friend, a branch of whose family had sold it on unknown to him. The look on his face and the sheer buzz I got from reuniting him with it (at cost) was priceless.

I collect equipment, uniforms and other mementos of the front line. It may be that some of the named items I’ve purchased in good faith over the years have been sold behind the family's back and that other members would wish to own them. I would try and be as sympathetic as possible, but would still keep them unless there were an overwhelming reason to return them. If I did feel bound to sell a core collection item to a relative, I’d almost certainly ask what I thought was the market price.

I’m quite happy with my attitude, but if anyone wants to revile it, feel free! It’s your opinion and you’re not hurting me, and besides it won't bother me in the slightest.

W.

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27thBN
That is the one thing I, {even as an avid Collector of Medals} find hard to equate,Medals per se are in the main, records of after the event,save for the early days of the Imperial Armies of Victoria,rarely worn in Battle or on Service,& consequently only associated to the recipient once the fighting has stopped!!,they have little if any relation to the events that the recipient went through,unlike items of personal kit,badges,uniform,headwear,letters & documents,They are but a physical record of previous doings & often the only tangible thing left that proves a Man or Womans existence & I in all honesty suppose that is the reason I collect them,but there is very little logic to it if you sit down and think about it.....

Maybe it would have been better if i had not had read this. very true and ...very much makes you wonder what is the logic to collecting medals especially ww1 as there were millions and so many got ,destroyed,not worn,or really respected as so many men had them...and such like

MC :blink: :blink: :blink:

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Dragon
I can't understand anyone selling ... medals for money, as in my case they are worth more than just money.

I think many of us have come across the person who knocks at the door of a vulnerable older person and offers to buy his or her treasures.

What the monetary value of medals is, I have no idea, but I know of one Military Medal which was sold by the veteran's wife sometime in the 1980s, during his lifetime. The veteran kept her very short of money and she had to ask him for every single penny, even though they weren't badly off. When the dodgy visitor came to the door, she was glad to dig out the Military Medal. It was never seen again. Short term relief for her empty purse, long term mystery about the medal. A whole set of lies about the medal's disappearance and a source of rows ever since, even among the couple's 80-year old offspring.

Sadly, some susceptible or frail people are easily taken in by plausible talk and the offer of instant cash on the doorstep.

Gwyn

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