Selling War Medals; The ultimate guide - Vintage Cash Cowriosities
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War memorabilia and medals collection

Selling War Medals; The ultimate guide

How to get the best price for your medals

We get a-lot of questions about medals here at Vintage Cash Cow, and we receive a lot of medals too. So we’ve created yet another selling guide with the help of our experts. 

 

 

First, say hello to Antony Charman…

 

Antony Charman with a gold testing gun

Head vintage expert Antony Charman with his favourite metal testing gun

 

He’s our lead vintage expert. He’s been buying vintage things since he was old enough to talk. He has over 40 years experience in valuing vintage items.

 

Next, meet Steve Child…

 

A picture of Steve Child

Steve is our medal and militaria expert.

 

Steve is an avid collector of medals, militaria and masonic items and has over 40 years experience in his field.

 

Stick around to benefit from Antony and Steve’s knowledge and get the best price for your medals. In this guide you’ll learn how to research and value your medals and how much they could be worth. We’ll look at different ways to sell medals, whether it’s illegal to sell medals, and the pitfalls you should watch out for if you do.

 

Everything you need to get the absolute best price possible for your medals is here. Let’s get started.

 

This is what we’ll cover in this guide, use the links below to jump to the sections you’re most interested in, or just dive right in to learn everything 🙂

 

Selling War Medals Contents:

 

A Distinguished Service medal and a George Cross medal

A distinguished service medal and a George Cross medal.

 

Can you sell military medals?

The short answer is yes, but there are exceptions.

 

Is it illegal to sell military medals?

The Stolen Valor Act was passed in the United States in 2006. This prohibits the sale of medals while the soldier they were awarded to is still in the armed forces. When they leave the forces the medals may be sold. So this may come into play if you have any American medals.

 

The Stolen Valour Act says that trading of medals by ‘unauthorised persons’ is illegal. The act aims to prevent people claiming they’d  received awards that they weren’t entitled to. Generally, it’s OK to buy and sell medals, provided you aren’t planning to wear them if you haven’t earned them.

 

It’s not illegal to own medals that weren’t awarded to you, but it is illegal to wear medals you haven’t earned.

 

The Stolen Valor Act sparked controversy when it was passed, but amendments were made in 2013 which still stand today.

 

Can you sell a purple heart medal?

Yes you can currently sell purple heart medals, but not all collectors will buy them and some selling platforms like eBay prohibit you listing these medals for sale.

 

The laws around selling Purple Heart medals are confusing at best. Some collectors believe the medals can be bought and sold lawfully as long as the soldier that earned it is no longer in the military.

 

Some collectors will be happy to buy a purple heart medal from you, others will not. So make sure you ask around and seek appropriate advice before selling your purple heart medal.

 

Is it illegal to sell a purple heart medal?

No. It is not currently illegal to sell a purple heart medal, however, there is legislation being looked at in order to prohibit their sale.

 

Some selling platforms will ban the sale of specific medals or items. eBay is one such platform, it prohibits the sale of purple heart medals.

 

Can you sell a medal of honour?

It is not illegal to sell a medal of honour, but not all collectors will buy them. Some online selling platforms, like eBay prevent the sale of medals of honour.

 

Is it immoral to sell medals?

Views vary on this very important point.

 

For some, it’s considered immoral to sell medals. They are a testament to the soldier that earned them. Many with this view-believe medals should be inherited through the family, looked after and cared for.

 

Each medal produced comes with its own story. These stories should be kept alive for future generations to learn from.

 

The arguments for selling medals acknowledge that each medal tells a story. In fact, medals are usually sold to collectors who are passionate about their history. Collectors look after medals, display them and share their stories with others.

 

While it’s a lovely idea to think of medals being passed down through families, it’s not always possible. Attitudes to war have changed. Many people aren’t keen on keeping and displaying military medals in their homes.

 

At least if you are selling medals to a collector, you know they will be well looked after and treasured.

 

At Vintage Cash Cow we are lucky to have Steve, who is an avid collector of medals and militaria. Steve is always able to find a loving home for any medals and military items we buy.

 

The reason most of us here love antique and vintage items is because of the history associated with them. We hear stories and legends of war heroes and incredible battles, acts of valour and bravery. Getting to hold a piece of that in your hand, is like reaching through history and touching it. Even if only for the briefest of moments. Like this pocket watch we found and recently shared on Facebook.

 

 

This is why we make the promise that nothing gets thrown away when you send it to us. We find a home for everything because history is worth preserving. Because of that, we fall in the ‘it’s OK to sell medals camp’.

 

We hear of medals sold for their metal content, because many medals are made of silver, this is a real shame. We understand families don’t always have the ability to preserve wartime memorabilia. So we give them a third way.

 

The family get to make money for the medals, and we pass them onto collectors. We guarantee our collectors will look after them and take time to research their stories.

 

Here we’ve explained the main points for and against selling medals. If you’d like to know more, you can read a discussion on this between a government historian and an army colonel: Is it immoral to sell medals? – Legion.

 

At the bottom of that post there’s a poll asking readers whether they think it’s immoral to sell medals. You can see the results below.

 

selling medals poll showing favour towards selling medals

 

Selling war medals contents

 

Bronze Star medal and Air Force Cross medal

The Bronze Star medal and the Air Force Cross

 

What are medals made of?

Most war medals are made of metal and come with a fabric ribbon. Some of the more unusual medals are made with precious metals like gold and silver. Bronze has been the most common metal used in medals because of it’s reasonable price and ease of use.

 

Which coins and medals to sell

The best coins and medals to sell are ones you no longer want to keep. Coins rarely hold their value, but they can be sold for their metal content. Medals can also be sold for their metal content, but many prefer to sell to a collector who will respect the integrity of the medal.

 

The most common coins and medals don’t tend to sell for very much money. But if you sell them all in one go to Vintage Cash Cow you’ll get one lump sum for all your old coins and medals.

 

The best thing about selling to Vintage Cash Cow is that we can spot something rare and unusual and make sure you get the right price for it. Like when we found this rare coin:

 

Grandmother discovers rare coin worth £100K in box of junk

Selling war medals contents

 

U.S. Distinguished Service medal and Distinguished Flying Cross medal

The U.S. Distinguished Service medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross medal

 

War medal valuations

If you’re selling medals it makes sense to get a valuation first. There are a few different types of valuations you can get for your medals. Make sure you know what you can expect from each one.

 

In this section we’ll dish the dirt on:

  • The different types of medal valuation
  • What medal valuations cost
  • The pitfalls to watch out for when getting medals valued

and

  • Where you can get your medals valued

 

There are different types of valuations. It’s important to know what kind of valuation you should get. The wrong evaluation could be expensive and might not tell you how much you can make selling your medals. Insurance replacement valuations and sale valuations are often confused.

 

An insurance replacement valuation will tell you how much you can claim on your insurance if your medals are lost or stolen. A sale valuation will tell you how much you can make selling your medals. These two types of valuation usually yield very different numbers, so it’s important to make sure you get the right valuation.

 

Private sale valuations for medals

If you are selling your medals, this is the type of valuation you need. It will tell you exactly how much you can make selling your medals.

 

It’s not unusual to get varying prices from private sale valuations. Some collectors and companies will pay more for your medals if they have an easy way to sell them on.

 

For instance, Vintage Cash Cow are able to offer good prices for medals thanks to Steve’s network of medal collectors. A pawn shop might offer a lower price if they don’t have an immediate outlet to sell them on.

 

Make sure you are getting a no obligation sale price. The last thing you want is to be forcefully parted from your medals.

 

At Vintage Cash Cow we have an in house medal specialist. If you are looking for a sale price we can provide that to you free of charge and with no obligation. All you have to do is pop your medals in a box. Our expert Steve will take a look at them and let you know how much you can make selling your medals. If you decide to sell, Steve will give you an instant cash payment. Then he’ll clean, repair and re-home any medals you’ve sent in. If you decide not to sell, Steve will send your medals back for free.

 

How much does it cost to get war medals valued?

Prices vary for different types of valuation and across different types of companies. You would expect to pay for an insurance, probate or family division valuation.

 

Sale valuations are usually free. In rare instances, like at auction houses, you may be charged for them.

 

Where can I get my war medals valued?

If you want to get your medals valued make sure you select the right type of valuation and do your research.

 

It’s OK to get prices from different companies. Make sure you ask if they charge for their valuations. Some companies will also give you a lot of information online.

 

Look up reviews for any companies you’re thinking to sell to. People are often keen to share their experiences both good and bad.

 

Once you’ve done your research and had your medals valued you’re ready to sell.

 

Selling war medals contents

 

Air-force Cross medal and Order of Canada medal

The Air-force Cross medal and the Order of Canada medal

 

Cleaning war medals before selling them

If you are selling your medals on a platform like eBay you’ll need to clean them and take clear photographs to make sure you get the best price. If you are selling to a dealer, ask them if you need to clean your medals first.

 

Some collectors will prefer to clean the medal themselves to minimise any risk of damage. If you are selling medals to Vintage Cash Cow there is no need to clean them first. Our expert Steve will clean your medals either to identify them or after we’ve bought them from you.

 

Before cleaning your medal find out what type of metal it’s made from.

 

If you use brass cleaner on a gold plated medal for instance, it will strip the gold off. You should only use polish if you are certain you know what metal your medal is.

 

If you aren’t sure, try these tips for chemical free cleaning:

  • Sometimes a simple pencil eraser will do. If your medal is only a little dusty or has fingerprints on it, rub a clean pencil eraser over the metal and that will get it shining again. If the medal has a tarnish though, an eraser won’t work.
  • If an eraser doesn’t do it, use soapy water, it’s the most gentle solution. Try not to get the ribbon wet if it has one.
  • You can use masking tape to protect the medal ribbon while you are cleaning.
  • If you are selling medals, you may find the collector you are selling to would prefer to clean them. Usually they’ll have a system they use to prevent any damage to the medal while cleaning.
  • Use a soft children’s toothbrush or a cotton wool bud to clean around embellishments and finer details.
  • If your medal has a tarnish and the above tips didn’t work, you may need to use a metal cleaner. Make sure you buy the right cleaner, use it sparingly and make sure you don’t get any on the ribbon.

 

Selling war medals contents

 

U.S. Defence Meritorious Service medal and Air-force Aerial Achievement medal

A U.S. Defence Meritorious Service medal and Air-force Aerial Achievement medal

 

Are war medals worth money?

Yes. War medals are worth money, but how much you make when selling them depends on a lot of factors.

 

If your medals are in great condition they will make more money than if they are damaged. If you have the original papers and presentation boxes that go with your medals they will be worth more.

 

If you have a rare medal it could be worth a lot of money, if you have a common medal it won’t be worth as much. Sometimes a common medal can sell for a lot of money if it belonged to someone of historical interest.

 

Medals are incredibly difficult to value as with a lot of things the value of the medal is directly linked to what the collectors market is willing to pay for it. The more you know about your medal when you sell it, the more likely you are to find an interested collector.

 

Selling war medals contents

 

U.S. Navy Cross medal and U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross Medal for Gallantry

The U.S. Navy Cross medal and the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross Medal for Gallantry

 

How much are war medals worth?

So, you’ve decided to sell your medals and you want to know how much you’ll make? The answer isn’t as straightforward as listing prices next to medals. Many factors influence the prices paid for medals.

 

Getting your medal valued is the only sure-fire way to know how much you can make from it.

 

As with many other vintage things rarity will increase the value of a medal. For instance, over 365,000 1914 Star medals have been awarded since 1914. This means there are still plenty of them around. They are still valuable, but might not fetch as much as a rarer medal. For instance, The Victoria Cross Medal, has only been awarded 1358 times so it will be more valuable.

 

The condition of the medal also plays a part in its value. Broken medals, missing ribbons or filed off inscriptions are less valuable. Medals in good condition are more valuable. If you have the original papers and presentation box for your medal, it will be worth more than a medal on its own.

 

Sometimes the story behind a medal will also influence it’s value. Some collectors will pay more for medals that were awarded to certain soldiers. Or for certain reasons like bravery or valour.

 

This is why it’s important to know what type of valuation you need and the best place to get it from. Because there is so much that can influence the value of a medal, they will need to be seen to be valued. For this reason you should be wary of any company that gives you a sale price before they’ve seen your medal. Setting a price up front comes with the risk that you’ll get a different sale price when the item arrives. This is usually down to disputes over the condition of the medal.

 

By looking on auction sites and in auction houses, you can see how much similar medals have sold for in the past or how much future lots are expected to go for. Remember, this isn’t the price you will get for your medal, but it is a sign of its potential worth.

 

Each medal is different and two medals that look the same may well sell for different prices. Some of the most common medals in the world have sold for thousands because of who they belonged to. This is why it pays to do your research.

 

In the next section we’ll explain how to find out more about your medals before you sell them.

 

Selling war medals contents

 

Canadian Order of Military Merit and George Cross medal for gallantry

The Canadian Order of Military Merit and George Cross medal for gallantry

 

Learn about your medals before selling them

When it comes to collecting, cleaning or selling your medals you’ll want to find out more.

 

Looking up the type of medal you have can tell you what metal it’s made from. Which campaign it was awarded for and sometimes the person it was awarded to.

 

Each medal will come with a story which is what interests collectors. Medals reward service in particular campaigns and regions. They also commemorate long service, acts of valour, heroism and outstanding accomplishments.

 

Below we’ll walk you through the easiest and best ways to find out more about your medals.

 

What type of medal are you selling?

There are thousands of different types of medal. They aren’t always round and they don’t always come with a ribbon.  If you aren’t sure what type of medal you have, a good place to start is by searching for its distinguishing features.

 

Using a search engine you can enter search terms to return images. If you click on an image it should give you at least the name of the medal.

 

British Military service star medals

 

For instance, if you had any of the medals in the picture above you might start searching for star shaped medals. Some of the medals have inscriptions and dates on them, so searching for star shaped medals with specific dates or inscriptions is a great place to start.

 

When you see a medal that looks like yours in the image search results, click on it to find out what your medal is called.

 

In this case a search engine would tell you that these are British Military service medals that included the 1945 Star.

 

If your medal is round and you can’t see many details try searching for the colour of the medal ribbon. For instance, if I was searching for the middle medal in the example picture I would search for “medal with light blue, black and yellow ribbon.” This isn’t a foolproof method, it might take you a few different searches to identify your medal. Be careful when using this method, sometimes one tiny detail can make a difference when it comes to accurate identification.

 

Most medals have an inscription around the rim. This has a service number, name, rank, battalion, corps, regiment or service of the person it was awarded to.

 

There are good records of most medal awards from 1914 onward. Using the inscription and these records you can find out who it was awarded to and the reasons why.

 

Some online companies will charge you to use medal records, so remember to check before you sign up. To find the most relevant records, use a search engine to look for “medal rolls”. You’ll need to know a rough date for your medal and the country it’s from.

 

Selling war medals contents

 

Three WW1 British campaign medals

British campaign medals from WW1, these are usually known as ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’

 

Selling war medals

There are lots of ways to sell war medals, some of those ways are easier than others. In nearly all cases the more you know about your medals the more likely you are to get the best price.

 

Next we’ll take a look at some specific medals and things you’ll need to know if you are going to sell them. Then we’ll explain where to sell your medals and things you should consider for each selling method.

 

Sell British war medals

British war medals span a huge period in time as a British war medal is any medal issued to a member of the British Armed Forces. The highest British military award is the Victoria Cross medal. It is awarded for gallantry in the presence of the enemy. Since 1856 only 1358 of these medals have ever been issued, only 15 have been issued since the Second World War. Due to its rarity it’s very valuable.

 

If you are selling British war medals, take a look at this list of British Campaign Medals. It’s a great way to begin identifying what sort of medals you have. Once you know what campaign your medal is from you can begin to understand more about the potential value of your medals.

 

Sell WWI medals

There are two main kinds of medal awards from the First World War, campaign medals and gallantry medals. Campaign medals are awarded to service men and women who saw war outside of the United Kingdom. Gallantry medals were awarded to service men and women for showing particular valour or bravery during war.

 

Individuals who saw service in the First World War were entitled to claim medals for their service. The most common medals were affectionately known as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred (1914 and 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory medal).

 

Campaign medals are very common, so they aren’t worth huge sums of money. They still have value though, and that value will increase if the medals are in good condition, sold as a set and come with their original paperwork, boxes, and, ribbons.

 

Gallantry medals are more rare than campaign medals, so some of these are worth a lot of money. Often collectors prize gallantry medals for the stories they tell, so make sure you find out about the story behind your medal before you sell it.  

 

All medals that were issued during World War One were recorded on a medal roll. You can access medal rolls online to find out more about your medals and who they were awarded to.

 

Sell WWII medals

There are two main types of WWII medal. Campaign medals and gallantry medals. Campaign medals include the War Medal, which was issued to anyone who served over 28 days in the armed forces. The 1939-45 star is also a common campaign medal. It was available to anyone who completed six months service in the war. There were other types of star medal awarded for specific overseas campaigns.  

 

Gallantry medals from WWII tend to be more valuable than campaign medals because they are more rare. As with WWI medals the story behind the medal and it’s condition will determine the value of your medals.

 

Before selling your WWII medals take a look at this list of WWII medal ribbons. You can use the ribbon colours to help you identify your medals.

 

Selling war medals contents

 

A collection of WW2 medals

World War II campaign medals

 

Where to sell war medals

It may surprise you to learn there are lots of ways to sell your medals. Because medals are a specialist item, some methods are easier than others. Below we’ve given you the low down on four different ways to sell medals, and how much experience you need for each method.

 

Selling medals online (Experienced Sellers)

There are a few different places you can sell medals online. Not all of them are free and some ways of selling will take longer than others. The most common way of selling online is using eBay.

 

If you are selling your medals on eBay it’s important that you have a good understanding of what your medals are. You’ll also need to read eBay’s terms and conditions.

 

There are many types of medal you can sell on eBay but some are prohibited. For instance you can’t sell Purple Heart Medals on eBay:

 

A picture of the eBay policy

eBay’s medal policy

 

There’s also a long list of Nazi medals and memorabilia that you can’t sell.

 

Collectors will often trawl eBay looking for a bargain. If you aren’t sure what you’re selling, you could end up getting less money than your medal is worth.

 

The same type of medals can fetch different prices. The final selling price depends on:

  • who the medal was awarded to
  • what campaign they fought in
  • the reasons they were presented with the medal

 

If you are a collector or buyer of medals, you’ll know exactly what to look out for. But if this is your first time, you may come up short.

 

If you are selling privately you’ll make more money if your medals come with the original paperwork. Though replica medals are rare and illegal, they still exist. If a buyer isn’t certain your medal is real this could lead to conflicts during or after the sale.

 

Remember there may also be fees for listing and selling your items. Make sure you do plenty of research before you decide to sell in this way.

 

eBay isn’t the only online auction platform, but similar rules apply. Always read the terms and conditions and research any associated fees.

 

Selling war medals at auction (Intermediate)

Most experts would advise you not to sell medals at auction unless you have a large collection or you know your medals are very valuable. Remember it can take a long time to go through an auction, so this isn’t the best method if you are hoping for a quick sale.

 

If you’ve sold through an auction house before, you’ll have a good understanding of how it works and what to look out for.

 

If you are new to the auction scene it can be a bit confusing. Generally you’ll want to get your medals valued first. This will give you a good idea of what the starting price should be at auction.

 

You should select an auction day that will work well with what you’re selling. If there’s a specific auction for medals, medal collectors will show up, so you’ll get a better price. If you auction medals on a general day, you’re less likely to achieve the price you are looking for.

 

With auctions it’s a good idea to set a reserve, this is the lowest price someone should pay for the item. It often costs extra to set a reserve, so make sure it’s worth it before you do. Setting a reserve means your medals won’t be sold at a price you aren’t happy with.

 

If you’re new to auctions, spend some time researching what to expect. Different auction houses have different rules and services. Some don’t offer valuations. Some don’t offer specialist auctions. Always do your homework to get the best price for your medals.

 

Auction fees are a little more complex than eBay fees. You usually pay for each element of the service.

 

Common auction fees include:

  • Valuation fees
  • listing fees
  • reserve fees
  • final selling fees

Make sure you know how much you’ll be paying before you commit to an auction. Different auction houses will charge different fees.

 

If you’re considering an auction, search online to see what other people’s experiences are like. Forums and blog posts are great ways to gain insights into a new company.

 

Selling war medals to a medal dealer (Intermediate)

There are many medal dealers who advertise online. Usually they buy and sell medals. If you are a collector, these can be great places to pick up new pieces for your collection. While this is one of the easier ways to sell, you’ll still need to do some leg work to make sure you’re getting the best price.

 

Here’s a quick checklist of things you should look out for:

 

A checklist for selling to medal dealers

 

  1. Postage – if you are selling to someone online, how will you get your medals to them? Will you be expected to pay for postage and returns or are these free?
  2. If you have a lot of medals you may want to make sure they’re insured in the post. Some companies offer free postal insurance. In cases where free postal insurance isn’t offered, you may want to pay for some of your own.
  3. Obligation – check if you have an obligation to sell. On some sites you can enter details for your medal and get a price before sending it off. With some of these sites, you will be expected to sell the medal on it’s arrival. With systems like this the price you’re given online may be different to the price you end up being paid. Once the buyer sees the medal, they may notice issues with its quality and reduce the price they’ll pay.
  4. Payment – make sure you know how you’ll get paid for the sale. Some companies only deal with cheques. This means you’ll have to wait a few days for the cheque to arrive and a few more days for it to clear. Other companies pay out to PayPal or directly to your bank account. Either way, make sure you know how you’ll be paid and when.
  5. Credentials – does the company you are selling to have good credentials? How long have they been trading? Are they a medal specialist? Do they have useful information on their website?
  6. Reviews – finally check the reviews for that company. If there are any problems with payments or processes these will be mentioned in the reviews. Make sure the reviews are on a genuine review site so you know they are independent and unbiased.

 

Once you’ve done all the necessary research, you should be able to identify a great medal collector and  get the best possible price for your medals.

 

Many people decide not to sell their medals because the process is too involved. This is one of the reasons we started Vintage Cash Cow.

 

Selling war medals to Vintage Cash Cow (easy)

Vintage Cash Cow was created to give people a fast free and easy way to sell their old stuff.   We buy all sorts of old things from people all over the UK. Here’s what you should know about selling your medals to us.

 

Expert appraisers

At Vintage Cash Cow we have years and years of experience with vintage and antique items.  We even have a dedicated medal and militaria specialist called Steve. We can easily identify your medals and give you an immediate cash payment when you decide to sell. Our free service was established to help people be more savvy about what they are selling.

 

How the process works

Before you start decluttering sign up to Vintage Cash Cow for free. We’ll send you a beautiful brochure explaining which items you can sell to us. We’ll also send you some free postage labels and some beautiful fragile stickers for your parcel.

 

Once you’ve got your labels, send us what you want to sell. We encourage people to declutter in bulk because we understand how frustrating and time consuming it is to sell one item at a time, so we accept a whole box-full at once. You don’t have to fill out any annoying inventories or take a zillion photos. Just put everything you want to sell in a box.

 

Once your box is ready you can attach your free postage labels and take your parcel to a post office. Or you can call us to arrange a free secure door step collection.

 

As soon as we’ve got your items we’ll let you know by text message. Then our experts will value your items and give you a cash offer. If you accept the offer you’ll get an instant payment, or you can get all your items returned free of charge if you decide not to sell.

 

What does it cost

It doesn’t cost anything to use Vintage Cash Cow and there are no hidden fees. Antony has always been passionate about giving customers a free and easy way to sell their things.

 

Are Vintage Cash Cow a reputable company

We’ve been around for two years now, and in that time we’ve helped over 50,000 customers to make money from their old things. Don’t take our word for it, find out what people are saying about us on Trustpilot.

 

At Vintage Cash Cow we have strict processes around opening customer’s boxes. Our appraisal bays are all clearly marked and cleaned down after every box – to make sure we don’t lose anything. We have a state of the art CCTV system with a camera over every appraisal bay.

 

All our appraisers are trained by Antony, the co-founder and head appraiser – here’s our appraisal team:

 

The Vintage Cash Cow appraisal team

 

Why should I sell my medals to Vintage Cash Cow?

Vintage Cash Cow is a great place to use if you aren’t sure what kind of medals you have. Our vintage experts can identify and value your medals, and offer you a selling price for them. If you decide not to sell, we’ll send your items back free of charge.

 

Sell your medals to Vintage Cash Cow

 

Russian Order Medals

Russian Order Medals

 

Selling war medals contents

 

The top 5 most valuable medals

Everyone loves a story of hidden treasures in the attic. If you’re on the hunt for something valuable, here are five expensive medals to inspire you.

 

£490,000

Auctioned in 2006

Captain Alfred John Shout’s Victoria Cross medal

 

Captain Shout was born in New Zealand and lived in Australia. He took part in the landing at Gallipoli and later, when attacked at Lone Pine he displayed tremendous courage. He charged through an enemy trench with bombs killing 8 Turks and wounding others. Later that same day in a final push he lit three bombs. One exploded too soon and Captain Shout was critically injured. He died on a hospital boat two days later, was buried at sea and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

 

£335,000

Auctioned in 2009

Flight Lieutenant Reid’s Victoria Cross medal

 

Flight Lieutenant Reid showed incredible bravery and valour in 1943. Over the Dutch coast his plane met an enemy plane and came under fire. Flight Lieutenant Reid was injured in the head, shoulders and hands in this initial fire fight, but the enemy plane had been fought off.

 

Shortly afterwards Flight Lieutenant Reid’s plane was raked with fire by an enemy plane. The plane was devastated, the rear turret barely functional, the oxygen system put out of action and some of the crew killed. Flight Lieutenant Reid was not deterred and continued with his objective.

 

On completing his objective he began his journey home, loss of blood and lack of oxygen made him semi-conscious and his remaining crew helped keep the plane in the air. Flight Lieutenant Reid revived before landing, though he was suffering from lack of oxygen and was troubled by the blood in his eyes he made a safe landing. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his determination and valour.

 

£120,000

Sold in 2011

John Philips’ Distinguished Service Cross medal

John Phillips was a war hero who was injured when a bomb he he defusing exploded during the Falklands war. He lost an arm and his colleague, Sergeant James Prescott was killed instantly. At the age of 68 John Philips decided to sell his Distinguished Service Cross medal

 

£98, 750

Sold in 2010

Sgt Tom Palmer’s Queen’s Gallantry Medal

Sgt Tom Palmer was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal when he took part in the Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980 as part of the SAS. The medal was sold as part of a lot that also included Sgt Tom Palmer’s SAS uniform, a burnt protective hood from the siege, various letters congratulating him on the award of the medal, photographs and newspaper clippings of the event as well as a few other items.

 

£90,000

Sold in 2014

RF Hamlyn’s collection

Hamlyn was also known as the Pied Piper of Harrogate, he was a heavily decorated World War II pilot, meaning he was awarded a lot of medals. Among them was the Distinguished Flying Medal which he was awarded for shooting down many enemy aircrafts. The medals were sold along with his log books. Initially it was thought the group would sell for around £60,000, but the sale exceeded expectations.

 

Selling war medals contents

 

The rarest medals in the world

We’ve already established that the rarer your medal the more valuable it is. Here are some of the rarest medals in the world. Any of these look familiar?

 

A Victoria Cross medal

A Victoria Cross Medal

 

Victoria Cross

The victoria cross medal is awarded for gallantry in the face of the enemy. Each one is manufactured by Hancock’s of London. It has long been believed that each Victoria Cross medal is made from the metal of a siege cannon captured from the Russians in the siege of Sevastopol, however, tests conducted since then suggest they may be made from the metal of other guns captured in different wars.

 

They are not awarded very often in fact only 15 have been issued since the Second World War. Victoria Cross medals often make a lot of money when sold especially if they have the accompanying papers as there’s usually a great story behind each one.

 

Australia, Canada and New Zealand all have their own version of the Victoria Cross, The Australian Victoria Cross has only been awarded 4 times, The Victoria Cross for New Zealand has only been awarded once and the Canadian Victoria Cross has never been awarded.

A congressional medal of honour

A medal of honour awarded to William Donovan in WWI

 

Congressional Medal of Honor

This is awarded to U.S. armed services for valour in the face of the enemy. To date only 3519 have been issued.

 

A chaplain medal of honour

The rare Chaplain Medal of Honour

 

The Chaplain’s medal of honour

Sometimes known as the four chaplains medal. It was only awarded 4 times, posthumously, to 4 chaplains who were killed on board the USS Dorchester when it was sunk by a German U-223 in 1943. It hasn’t been awarded since.

 

Conclusion

As you can see from our guide it is of course possible to sell your medals. The value of your medals will depend on the story behind them, the condition of your medals, and any documents you have to go with them.

 

If you’re ready to sell your medals, start with Vintage Cash Cow….

 

Sell your medals to Vintage Cash Cow

 

Want to keep reading? Check out our other selling guides:

 

Selling Silver Jewellery for cash

 

How to sell gold

 

 

Kat Quinzel
kat.q@vintagecashcow.co.uk
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