British Military Medals Guide Full Size Medals
British Military Medals Guide
We have created a guide to collecting military medals which we hope will be useful for collectors of British Military Medals as well as other military collectors. This will hopefully help in identifying what to look for when buying original medals (or any other military medal) including World war 1 and World war 2 full size medals as well as a brief overview of replacement, replica and miniature medals.
Did you know ?
- British Military Medals will only increase in value so when you are buying you are investing as well as collecting.
- Family members of medal winners are entitled to wear medals on the opposite side to serving members.
- Most medals are not added to household home insurance.
- It is illegal to buy or sell original named medals if the individual is still serving in the armed forces.
Tips for buying and selling Full Size Original medals -
- Is the medal / medals named around the rim on the bottom edge or reverse of the medal/ medals.
- Does the medal / medals come with paperwork ie papers of issue and entitlement.
- Does the medal come with original ribbons ? and are they the correct medal ribbons.
- Are the medals in good condition ?
- Does the medal / medals come with box of issue ?
- Is the medal damaged or chipped ?
All these factors will increase the value of original medal sets whether you are buying or selling medals and although not all original medals come named such as World War 2 - WW2 campaign stars and Defence & War Medal most do come named after this period whether they are silver or cupro nickel medals they are named on the bottom rim or reverse side for Gallantry Cross Medals.
British World War 2 Medals - In Order of Wear
- 1939 - 45 STAR £13.00
- ATLANTIC STAR £38.00
- ARCTIC STAR £17.50
- AIR CREW EUROPE STAR (ACE) £310.00
- AFRICA STAR £24.00
- PACIFIC STAR £40.00
- BURMA STAR £30.00
- ITALY STAR £19.00
- FRANCE AND GERMANY STAR £21.00
- DEFENCE MEDAL £16.00
- WAR MEDAL 1939 - 45 (END OF WAR MEDAL). £13.50
The Average Value for each of the above WW2 Medals is a combination of our findings and medal yearbooks which can be used as a guide based on current market prices and valuations.
It is worth pointing out that combinations of the above medals increase the value of the group as do clasps such as the 8th army clasp for the africa star and the overall condition (see grading chart section) also if the medals are mounted have paperwork or box of issue. The rarest medal above is the Air Crew Europe Star.
Dont be put off from asking a seller or Dealer a question whether it be through a medal fair, shop or internet site because most sellers are collectors themselves and will advise & assist you.
Some regiments are more collectable than others and this also increases the value of medal sets and generally speaking regiments like the Royal Engineers and Royal Signals will not be as hard to find and so the value of these medal sets will be lower than that of the Elite British regiments such as The Guards, The Parachute Regiment, Gurkas, Royal Marines and special forces SAS and SBS (under their original units).
Medals issued for World War 2 Campaigns to British units were never engraved this may be due to the large numbers involved so dont be surprised if there are no engraving on them. Some veterans have had their details put on them but they were not issued to British units like this although they were issued engraved to Commonwealth forces such as Indian, Australian, New Zealand and Canadians.
The engraving varies on these medals depending on era and Queen Victoria (QV) medals such as the Queens South Africa medal are engraved different to post WW2 Medals.
Medal cleaning tips - For Silver and Cupro Nickel medals the best product we have used is Goddards Silver Pad. All you need is a little dab on the sponge (included inside the Blue tub) and gently rub in small circles all over 1 side of the medal. After the medal has had all the Black removed it is then ready for the "rub down" with a softer cloth and lastly the final polish buff with a soft cloth (cotton is good and silvettes). It the medal is not clean repeat step 1 or it may have to be "dipped" in Silver Dip but DO NOT leave the medal in this for any period of time as this is corrosive and needs to be rinsed off and dried before adding ribbon to it. If unrinsed it can burn and eat through ribbon,
For Brass/ Bronze medals such as WW2 Stars Brasso is a good way and you can use a toothbrush (not your partners!) to get into all the nooks and edges.
The different types of medals are as below -
A good start for medal collectors are Full size museum standard copy medals or replicas which have the original medal ribbon (in most cases) and are quite good quality and realistic prices such as the Victoria cross medal which you can obtain for less than 15 pounds and the original is priceless. (There are some really bad versions of these on some auction sites).
British Full size Replacement medals - Are the closest to original medals as you can get as they are made from the same metal and same manufacturer and also have original medal ribbons. Although un-named they are normally under £60.00 pounds and can be engraved like original medals and are intended to replace lost or stolen medals and are worn by serving and Ex-Servicemen and Women. These in most cases have in tiny letters on the reverse side either copy or r on the top or back bar, this it the law and discourages duplicate medals for the same name and campaign appearing. These are purchased when medals have been lost or stolen or duplicate sets for families wanting to have more than 1 set.
British Miniature medals (aka mess dress medals) - These are never named as they are not issued like full size medals but purchased to wear and collect, these are worn when full size medals are not practical ie dinner functions on Mess Dress uniforms and by Ex- service personnel. These will also increase the value if added with full size medal sets.
For more detailed information about miniature medals please see our British Miniature Medal Guide.
British Full Size Original Medals - Full size medals are normally named as issued with engraving on the bottom rim or reverse side in the case of Gallantry Crosses such as Military Cross and have the old issued original ribbons on them and for the higher value medals can come with paperwork such as medal roll or entitlement papers and if your lucky the original box of issue.
There are a lot of fantastic British medal dealers who have more experience then us in named original medals who primarily only sell full size original medals and have massive stocks some specialising in specific campaigns with years of expertise who could give you more detailed advise.
Please see the medal grading ledger guide for a more detailed description of the various medals types in our information section.
As a company we dont as a rule sell named original medals as we dont think anyone should financially benefit from what someone else has earnt and based on this cannot give valuations or buy Original named medals.
A Good guide to prices is in the medal yearbook which is published yearly and has detailed prices which vary from year to year, although the miniature medals price is based on modern manufactured medals and not contemporary miniature medals.
Thanks for reading and happy collecting.