Medal News

Volume 45, Number 7, August 2007

A definitive guide

Volume 45, Number 7, August 2007

Unbelievably the summer, what we’ve had of it, is nearly over and soon autumn and the start of the “season” will be upon us. As always this is marked with the Orders and Medals Research Society Convention at the New Connaught Rooms in September and with it the launch of the new MEDAL YEARBOOK. Most of you will know the YEARBOOK and whether you buy one every year, as so many people do, or confine your purchases to one every couple of years, you’ll know how important it is to both collector and dealer alike. Every year we strive to make the book as good as it possibly can be and most of you will, I hope, agree that the 2007 issue was indeed the best to date and we are working hard to ensure the new version is better again. If you look back over the 14 years we’ve been publishing the book you’ll see it has dramatically improved year on year and now stands at nearly twice the size of the 1995 edition (the first we published ourselves after a rather disastrous attempt to launch it with a third party). In the intervening years hundreds of medals have been added, as has far more information about the medals that were already there. We’ve looked at the medals from a variety of Commonwealth countries ranging from India to Singapore (we’ve settled now on the “big four” with a view to including the others in a future MEDAL YEARBOOK II) and of course have gone full colour throughout. Every year the pricing has been as accurate as possible and has, with a few exceptions I admit, proved to be a remarkably true reflection of the market. To achieve this we ask many of the country’s leading dealers to check the prices and then we compare their conclusions to auction results, on-line auction sites and dealers lists to get an average price which we can then put against the medals as listed. Of course this isn’t infallible, the values given will always be for a “basic” medal and I must admit to be somewhat frustrated when a collector complains to us when he goes to buy a trio to a Major killed on the first day of the Somme for the price of a trio as quoted in the YEARBOOK and gets laughed out of the shop (it does happen on occasions believe me—I’m never sure whether out of genuine ignorance on the part of the would-be buyer or a futile attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the dealer!) but I think most collectors and laymen realise that with all the permutations possible, with all the added value factors of rank, action, casualty status, regiment, etc., having to be taken into account when buying medals the YEARBOOK can only ever be a guide and in that capacity it does rather well indeed However, there is more to the YEARBOOK than just the up to date values and that is why we market it not just as a price-guide but a “collectors’ handbook” too. Did you know, for example that the blue pages section is a cumulative index to all major MEDAL NEWS articles from nearly two decades? If, for example, you are interested in the George Medal you can pick up the YEARBOOK 2007 and see that in the last 17 years we’ve covered the George Medal no fewer than 11 times (there are more entries than that in the 2008 book)—with articles ranging from its development, to those on some of the recipients. Interested in naming on the Ghuznee Medal? Again, the blue pages tell us that this was covered in 9003.22 and 9005.25—so March of 1990 page 22 and May of the same year page 25—it’s that easy! If you find an article on a subject you’re interested in listed, then most of the back issues of the magazine (at least from the early 1990s) are available—whether on our website or, if they aren’t there, then by calling us direct and, even if we don’t have a copy we can let go, we are often happy to photocopy an article for you. Add to this incredibly useful research tool the other wealth of information contained in the book—the dealer directory; the directory of museums (again updated for 2008); the directory of booksellers; the lists of current regiments and their predecessors (extremely useful when trying to track down regimental records); the last year’s crucial market movements; the order of wear; medallic events of the past year and, of course, the information on the medals themselves (including when a medal was instituted, for what it was awarded, how many were awarded and, in many, cases to whom) and you begin to see why the MEDAL YEARBOOK really is the absolute must for all collectors. I know I should apologise for this rather blatant marketing plug and I do promise normal service will be resumed next month but, do you know what? I’m rather proud of and pleased with our YEARBOOK and myself and the team really do work hard on it. The most gratifying thing of all is, as always, the fact that you, our readers, are rather pleased with it too and once again I extend my thanks to all of you who have been kind enough to send in your comments and suggestions—they are always most welcome. Look out for the finished product on September 22!

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