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Remembered Today:

Melted BWMs


rbrauerei
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I've read a few dealers claiming that BWMs are quite rare due to be melted for their silver value. How serious of an issue is this really? I've seen a few pairs around at nice prices which are Stars and VMs (missing the BWM) and it got me to thinking it might be even more difficult to fill this "inside straight."

And my #1 most wanted man happens to be a BWM...

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I think this happened some years ago, when medals were sold for their silver value, by returned servicemen or their families.

Not a problem now as the price of an intact medal is usually more than the silver content value.

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There was a period in the late 70s/early 80s when the price of silver went through the roof.

Dealers set up in hotels etc for the day and put ads in the papers, saying the price they were prepared to pay per ounce of silver.

People took anything silver to sell to them, and this included a lot of medals.

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The price of silver in the 70's has always been put up as the reason for missing BWM's but they are far from rare and you do find a lot of single BWM's that should belong to a group, maybe its also to do with splitting a deceased property amongst the family.

Mick

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Hello All.

Here in Canada in the early seventies the price of silver went through the roof. Canadian World War II medals are silver (The CVSM CDM and BDM are silver) as is the Great War BWM, I remember going into a certain military store in town (That shall remain nameless) and saw several shoe boxes, full of silver medals, these were headed to one of the larger bullion stores in downtown Vancouver, sheer unadulterated greed!! and this from someone who was supposed to be a Canadian military historian! Yeah right! and he was not on his own, a lot of dealers were at this game, that is where all the BWM have gone, a mans history and sacrifice gone for a few measly bucks.

Cheers All Rob.

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My Brother in Law did melt a few in the early 80's, they had little interest or value then. WW1 medals were a common feature in jumble sales during the sixties. That is where I bought my only non family set at 1/6d, and I think conditioned me to have this underling feeling that they just arent worth the currant prices.

Gareth

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I was told that a BWM was worth £7 scrap compared to £1 value in the late seventies

At least most BWM had a victory attcached which hoepefully survives to keep him/her remembered

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Hallo Gents :D

Approximately 6 and a half million Silver B. W. M. were issued for service in WW1.

Whereas 110,000 of the Bronze version of the B. W. M. issued mainly to the Maltese, Indian and Chinese Labour Corps personel.

They are being faked, so check carefuly before buying, what can give the game away is the almost mint issue look about them!!

Connaught Ranger :D

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and of course the one sold for scrap by the family will be the one you are desperate for. B)

Mick

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One of the things Ive noticed is how uncommon Indian pairs are, infact I cant ever remember seeing one on the infamous E auction site. I wonder if this is due to "melting silver ones" or splitting within families.

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One of the things Ive noticed is how uncommon Indian pairs are, infact I cant ever remember seeing one on the infamous E auction site. I wonder if this is due to "melting silver ones" or splitting within families.

With regards Indian pairs, Native members of the Labour Corps did not qualify, I believe, for the Victory Medal award.

Connaught Stranger. :D

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Its just that while one often sees Victories and plaques to Indian regiments I just cant remember seeing a group.

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A friend of mine was in Birmingham when all of this happened. He was called down to have a look at some Victorian campaign medals that were saved from being melted as they might be valuable. Whilst there he saw large containers of silver medals tipped in to be melted. He asked the chap in charge and he estimated that they had melted around 5000 silver medals that day and that more containers were being brought down from other places to be melted.

Steve

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:(
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Its just that while one often sees Victories and plaques to Indian regiments I just cant remember seeing a group.

Lots of Indian medals were "recycled" too.

I can't remember where I read it, but one collector went into a Silversmiths, or similar, in India and asked if they had any medals for sale. The owner shouted to someone in the back of the shop, who then came in with a group of silver medals. They were still warm, as they were actually in the ladle when the collector came in.

IIRC they were the medals of a Subedar Major, with a lifetimes service to the Raj.

Anyone recognise the reference?

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One of the things Ive noticed is how uncommon Indian pairs are, infact I cant ever remember seeing one on the infamous E auction site. I wonder if this is due to "melting silver ones" or splitting within families.

"Native" Silver medals were notoriously & historically,destined for the melting pot in the local Bazaars,the main reason for many of the split groups to Indian & African recipients today

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Alfromeo

The man who you quote is "Ed Haynes", a good friend of mine. I believe the man actually showed him two medals, the third having just been melted, and he managed to save the other two. Two older Indian collectors, one of which was Alan Wolf who sadly left us in 2003 (his collection was sold at DNW last year), shared similar stores with me. Both men as it happens served with the CIA in the 50s and 60s, and amassed substantial collections. At the time they had the opportunity to acquire WW1 groups, as did Ed, but didn't because the material was so common - just as in the UK in the 60s, 70s and early 80s.

I do have a few complete trios, also a trio with IGS 1919 & GSM, a Pair with IGS '95, IGS '08 & GSM, and a couple of groups with pair/trio with OBI, IDSM, IGS '08, IGS 36, and WW2 entitlement. You do see these groups from time to time, but the Indian collecting fraternity is quite a small group, and things will usually be swapped / traded without dealers being involved. A group with complete WW1 entitlement to an Indian is desirable, but given that 99% of Indian groups in the public domain tend to be broken one should think more in terms of the recipent and regt, than condition.

I was recently horrorfied when Spinks contacted me for details on Subedar Major FIAZ Ali, Baluch Regt (an OBI), and I suddenly realised that someone had removed the IGS 1936, and had had the group remounted with newly attributed medals. A nice group with a WW1 pair which was destroyed by ignorance (the '39 IA List doesn't refer to the '36 campaign) or love of profit (sold seperately as a two bar IGS to an OBI). It had previously been sold at DNW, and I was the underbidder. I think they must have failed to realise he had been a POW, and added a Burma, Defence, ISM (you can't have both) and BWM to the 1939 - 45 star. Spink withdrew it from their sale.

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The man who you quote is "Ed Haynes", a good friend of mine. I believe the man actually showed him two medals, the third having just been melted, and he managed to save the other two. Two older Indian collectors, one of which was Alan Wolf who sadly left us in 2003 (his collection was sold at DNW last year), shared similar stores with me. Both men as it happens served with the CIA in the 50s and 60s, and amassed substantial collections. At the time they had the opportunity to acquire WW1 groups, as did Ed, but didn't because the material was so common - just as in the UK in the 60s, 70s and early 80s.

I do have a few complete trios, also a trio with IGS 1919 & GSM, a Pair with IGS '95, IGS '08 & GSM, and a couple of groups with pair/trio with OBI, IDSM, IGS '08, IGS 36, and WW2 entitlement. You do see these groups from time to time, but the Indian collecting fraternity is quite a small group, and things will usually be swapped / traded without dealers being involved. A group with complete WW1 entitlement to an Indian is desirable, but given that 99% of Indian groups in the public domain tend to be broken one should think more in terms of the recipent and regt, than condition.

I was recently horrorfied when Spinks contacted me for details on Subedar Major FIAZ Ali, Baluch Regt (an OBI), and I suddenly realised that someone had removed the IGS 1936, and had had the group remounted with newly attributed medals. A nice group with a WW1 pair which was destroyed by ignorance (the '39 IA List doesn't refer to the '36 campaign) or love of profit (sold seperately as a two bar IGS to an OBI). It had previously been sold at DNW, and I was the underbidder. I think they must have failed to realise he had been a POW, and added a Burma, Defence, ISM (you can't have both) and BWM to the 1939 - 45 star. Spink withdrew it from their sale.

Two clarifications:

1- I am not now, nor have I ever been, a CIA agent.

2- Indian WWI trios have now become fairly common, though they're not cheap.

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