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The current time is: 12/12/2017 9:09:49 AM
 General Military History    
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George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5692

Should military medals ever be sold
Posted on: 9/27/2017 3:50:10 PM
I read a disturbing story today that Major David Currie's medals including his Victoria Cross had been sold to a buyer in the UK.

During the battle to close the Falaise Gap, Currie took a small group of men to stop the flow of Germans trying to escape at St. Lambert-sur-Dives.

He didn't have enough men or equipment to stop the flow completely but he and his men fought valiantly for 36 hours and killed many Germans and took many others prisoner.

Currie collapsed from exhaustion once his battle groups was relieved.

This is his VC citation:

[Read More]

David Currie is on the left in this photo with his sidearm drawn at St. Lambert-sur-Dives. Of the photo it is often said that it may be the only photo of a VC winner taken in the field of battle. I don't know whether that is true.




This man was an auto mechanic and welder before the war but had joined the militia.

I am trying to build the case that this man is a real war hero and a credit to Canada, his country.

So how in hell do his medal wind up on the auction block?

It seems that many years ago and after his death, his widow sold them to a Canadian collector privately. I really do not know what her financial circumstances were.

But yesterday, the Canadian owner put them up for sale in the UK and the medals including the VC are now lost to us, perhaps forever.

The Canadian War Museum was one of the bidders but they were outbid.

So I want to ask whether your country protects these heritage items from sale. Is it illegal, in your country, to sell a military medal?

Shame on us. Perhaps military medals should be the property of the country and not the person who received it or his descendants.


Cheers,

George


kaii
Edinburgh, UK
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1935

Re: Should military medals ever be sold
Posted on: 9/27/2017 5:56:54 PM
This is always a difficult one George.

In Norway, at least, it is legal to sell military medals (but not to wear one you are not entitled to of course...).

As long as military medals are private property, there is no way one can prohibit the sale of them, of course, but I do agree that there are more factors at play here. Personally I am in favour of donating them to local museums etc, but unfortunately this is not always possible. Some collectors will go to great lengths to treat medals with respect and others will just dump them in collectors boxes.

I suppose ultimately it is up to the individual soldier, and family, to decide what to do with medals. The other option, as you hint at, would be to state that the medal remains the property of Crown (for those that have that) and should be returned after the death of the recipient. Somehow that also seems unfair to the family left behind.

I once experienced a situation where a veteran was selling his medals to raise money for medical treatment for one of his neighbour's children. A wonderful thing to do, of course, but also inherently sad and seemed wrong to me. I ended up buying them and promptly gifting them back to him upon a promise that he would not sell them again. Whether he did or not, I have no idea.

Rambling on a bit here, it is a topic on which I have string, but conflicting, opinions, to be honest.

K
---------------
You can be a Dictator or you can design ladies undergarments. You can't do both (Bertie Wooster)

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1446

Re: Should military medals ever be sold
Posted on: 9/27/2017 6:24:31 PM
Part of me thinks the citation rather more important than the medal itself, but it's certainly an interesting question. My late father-in-law was awarded his DFC in the summer of 1942, IIRC, and was authorized to wear a DFC ribbon on his chest, but he actually didn't receive the medal until after the war at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. When he got the citation I don't know, but it must have been at the time he was authorized to wear the ribbon. That suggests the medal may be seen as window dressing. I'd say further that once the medal is separated from its citation, or the family whose member earned it, it becomes a meaningless bit of scrap metal. After all, the medal didn't do anything valourous.

On the other hand, certain medals (and the VC would count here) carry such honour with them that it is a shame to see them pawned or sold. In fact, it is illegal to sell (or buy: I'm not sure if it is both) the US MoH and not all that lucrative (one sold recently for $2,200 on eBay). The fine can run up to $100,000, and there can be jail time. The following makes interesting reading. [Read More]
I guess the answer to your question, George, will depend on national attitudes towards war, warriors, and the military in general. That's what the fine and jail sentence suggests, at least to me, for the transfer of the MoH.

Cheers
Brian G

---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5692

Re: Should military medals ever be sold
Posted on: 9/27/2017 7:42:38 PM
Having a bit of trouble with the link, Brian.

With respect to David Currie's VC, I do not know why his wife sold them initially.

Currie eventually was appointed Sergeant-at-Arms in the House of Commons. He performed that role for 18 years. That doesn't mean that he was wealthy but he also was not destitute so I do not understand the sale of his medals. Perhaps there were other pressing financial matters within the family.

The Canadian government has ponied up, through the War Museum, when other Canadian medals were placed on the auction block. And so it was this time but it is an auction and they did not win this time.

Cheers,

George

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2955

Re: Should military medals ever be sold
Posted on: 9/27/2017 9:27:10 PM
My late father John, was awarded 2 Purple Hearts, for 2 wounds he received fighting the Japanese in the Pacific in WWII. Papua New Guinea, and Luzon, Philippines. According to this site they don't contain gold, mostly copper and are worth @ $50.00?

[Read More]

But to me, I have one, my brother the other they are priceless! It is against a 2007 law, I believe to sell them publicly on say E-bay!?

Proud son,
MD

BTW Thanks Dad!
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6098
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Should military medals ever be sold
Posted on: 9/29/2017 4:17:56 AM
I was a collector of military medals from 1969 to 2004-during which time i was member of the Orders and Medals Research Society of GB for over thirty years.I already had my GF's WW1, fathers and uncles WW2 (and eldest son's medal for Northern Ireland) medal groups.

My general collection over the years was Victorian to the Falklands War -groups and singles -all Very Fins and Better -all with full accreditation including Service Papers.etc.Plus a great deal of PRO documentation.Medal collecting cannot be done on the cheap

I sold up in 2003 everything EXCEPT my family's medals which I will leave to one of my sons who has pledged to to keep them as heirlooms

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5692

Re: Should military medals ever be sold
Posted on: 9/29/2017 6:08:03 AM
My Dad's medals are service medals. He always called them his "EBGO's" for Every Bugger Got One.

But he was proud of those medals and we were proud of him for earning them. Priceless. I could not sell them even if they were worth something.

Now that I think on it, those medals are mounted and on the wall in my brother's basement recreation room. We had a deal that the medals would rotate from sibling to sibling on a yearly basis.

So far, no rotation. I must make a phone call.


Cheers,

George

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6098
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Should military medals ever be sold
Posted on: 9/29/2017 6:34:59 AM

Quote:
Now that I think on it, those medals are mounted and on the wall in my brother's basement recreation room. We had a deal that the medals would rotate from sibling to sibling on a yearly basis.


George-I had a very large medal display in my lounge; but after the sale of my general collection -my family's medals are now all in a safe- due to their current market value.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

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