Advice on starting a medals collection


04 February 2020
Read these top tips for starting a collection of medals

Make a plan for your medal collection

Collecting medals as and when you find them is all very well if you have only a passing interest. But if you want to create a structured collection it’s good to plan your particular niche, then you can begin filling in the gaps as you go along.

Military medals can be split into particular regiments or campaigns, or you could just focus on a medal type.

Whilst planning, a little research on the websites of medal dealers and auctioneers will give you an idea of the material available and, perhaps most importantly when embarking on a new collection, the prices being paid.

Do your research

As ever when collecting just about anything, knowledge is power.

The more you can find out about a particular battle or campaign, the more likely you are to find a medal that has value, both financially and from a sentimental point of view. 

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Don’t neglect the medal’s story

The appeal for many collectors is not just the beauty or scarcity of the medal but the story behind the individual example, indeed discovering the story behind a medal can be more rewarding than simply obtaining the piece, adding a tangible window into history.

  • Who received it?
  • What did they do to deserve the honour?
  • What were the circumstances, was it a particular battle?

Answer these questions and you will add a context to the piece which will make it more interesting and enlightening, and which may help improve the value, as the guide on the Warwick and Warwick ( website states:

‘For example, a group of medals sold with a photograph of the recipient, a pilot’s flight log book (which has details of the military action the recipient participated in) or the official certificate of award will undoubtedly be more valuable than a group of medals which lack this documentation.’

Find out more about medal collecting…

With thanks to James Kemp, Robin Thomas and Will Bennet of the OMRS for images.