Selling guides, Tips and tricks

War medal values - a guide

War medal values - a guide
This article covers:

You’ve decided to sell your medals and you want to know how much you’ll make. So, how much are military medals worth? The answer isn’t as straightforward as looking at a war medals price list. Many factors influence the prices paid for medals.Getting your medal professionally valued is the only surefire way to know how much you can make from it - but we’d love to share some advice to help you make the best decision.

war medals

How to value medals

Knowing how to value war medals is a real skill as there is a lot that can affect the price. Scarcity and condition are two of the biggest factors.

Factors influencing military medal values

As with many other vintage items, 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 such as the Victoria Cross Medal, which has only been awarded 1,358 times so it will be more valuable.A medal’s value can also be affected greatly by its condition. Broken medals, missing ribbons or filed off inscriptions are likely to make a medal-less valuable. It might seem obvious, but medals in good condition are more valuable. If you have the original papers and presentation box for your medal, even better! The collection together will be worth more than a medal on its own.Sometimes the story behind a medal will also influence its 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. Since there’s 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 upfront comes with the risk that you’ll get a different sale price when the buyer actually sees the item. 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. If you have found an exciting medal and want to know the value, don’t get too excited before you do this research. Fore example, there are plenty of British Commemorative Medals and their values tend to be lower due to the fact they have no official recognition attached to them.

Old Medals

Value of medals from World War 1

There are two main kinds of medal awards from the First World War: campaign medals and gallantry medals. Campaign medals are awarded to servicemen and women who served in the theatre of conflict outside of the United Kingdom. Gallantry medals were awarded to servicemen and women for showing particular valour or bravery during their service.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 rarer 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. If you are hoping to sell World War One medals, you can access medal rolls online to find out more about your medals and who they were awarded to.

Medals of World War 1

Value of medals from World War 2

As with medals from WW1, 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 of 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 rarer. As with WWI medals, the story behind the medal and its 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- take a look before you try to sell WWII medals.

Medals of World War 2

Value of Boer War medals

Many military medals have survived from the Boer War. They were issued between 1899 and 1902.As with all military medal values, scarcity plays a big part in the value of medals from the Boer War. The Queen's South Africa Medal (QSA) is the most common medal from this particular conflict, and there are quite a few of them which have stood the test of time. These were issued to every member of military personnel involved - including the British Army, Royal Navy and even colonial forces. This means they are not incredibly rare but do still carry value.

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 and it pays to 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
  • Where you can get your medals valued

There are different types of valuations and 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, we’re able to offer great prices for medals at Vintage Cash Cow thanks to Steve, our medals in militaria specialist, and his network of medal collectors. In contrast, a pawn shop might offer a lower price if they don’t have an immediate outlet to sell them on.Another key point is to 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’ll happily give you a sale price absolutely free of charge and with no obligation. All you have to do is pop your medals in a box and send them to us - fully insured. 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. If you decide not to sell, Steve will send your medals back for free. Easy!


How much does it cost to get war medals valued?

Prices vary for different types of valuation and across different types of companies. You can definitely 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 but 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 company you’re thinking of selling to. People are often keen to share their experiences both good and bad.You can check out our reviews here.We love valuing medals and militaria here at Vintage Cash Cow. Our medal and militaria specialist, Steve, gets a real buzz seeing what comes through our doors and loves telling our customers all about their medals and what they're worth. We also love making our customers great cash offers for their old things. Why not sign up for our service today and find out for yourself?

sell your old medals

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

Wrapping up: are war medals worth money?

Put simply, 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 also be worth more.Generally, rare medals can be worth a lot of money, and common medals won’t be worth as much. However, sometimes a common medal can sell for a lot of money if it belonged to someone of historical interest.As with a lot of collectible or historic items, medals are incredibly difficult to value as 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. If you’d like to find out more about selling medals or simply want to get started, why not get your free info pack today? 

Share article

Ask us anything, and we'll reply as soon as possible

Our friendly online customer support team will answer your questions seven days a week.

* Asterisk means this is a required field
Get your FREE postage pack