Medal News

Volume 40, Number 10, November 2002

An ongoing series

Volume 40, Number 10, November 2002

The recent Golden Jubilee Orders and Medals Society Convention held at the New Connaught Rooms Covent Garden saw the launch of the MEDAL YEARBOOK 2003 – once again to (nearly) unanimous congratulations from all present. Of particular interest to many were the new sections, included for the first time, dealing with the current awards, orders, decorations and medals of Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. These are just the latest countries to be dealt with under our ongoing plan to eventually cover the current medals of all the countries where British Medals were once/are still worn as part of the official honours and awards system. The overwhelming majority of these countries will, of course, have once been part of the British Empire, Crown colonies etc and many are still part of the Commonwealth and as such the main body of the MEDAL YEARBOOK has always included some of these medals, however as many of the countries move to a system that includes British Awards less and less it is our intention to expand on those already included as a matter of course by adding, year upon year a new section or sections until a useful set has been built up. In the past we have covered India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand; Canada was included last year for the first time and this year sees the new “Asian” section, a section that will be added to by including Brunei next year. Oman is also intended for inclusion with a number of African countries coming in future years. As well as these new additions it is intended that those already covered will be reworked and updated on a “rolling” system to ensure that all the latest developments, pricing movements etc are taken into account and that nothing becomes too out dated. Thus we hope to be able to re-introduce an updated Indian Section, whilst perhaps dropping Canada, bring back South Africa whilst leaving out Sri Lanka and Singapore, re-work Australia at the expense of Malaysia and include New Zealand again when India is removed for updating. This will then ensure that every four or five years the YEARBOOKS represent a “full set” of all the countries that have issued and used British Medals as part of their systems making the MEDAL YEARBOOK the most extensive guide in the world to such awards. We will also be looking carefully at the “Foreign Awards found in British Groups” section that has been omitted this year as it is our intention to make it far more extensive and far more detailed, in short a complete guide to whatever you might find in a dealer’s tray. It has been requested in some quarters that we try to include these medals and the other “Foreign ones” in the YEARBOOK as it stands rather than “chop and change” the non-British sections from year to year. However this is sadly an impractical suggestion – if we were to put together a book that was to include all the medals so far listed in the years 1998 – present and then add to it the sections already in the planning stage the book would run to approximately 1100 pages, well over twice the size that it is now – and that’s without all the ribbon charts! This is clearly not an option – not only because of cost, both to us the publisher and to you the reader, but more importantly such a book would cease to be a guide, would cease to be the kind of book that collectors can, and do, take to shows, markets, antiques fairs etc. and would become a reference work pure and simple. No longer would it be a tool, a trusted friend but rather it would take its place on the bookshelf and remain there gathering dust, taken down once or twice but never again used as it should be. The MEDAL YEARBOOK isn’t that kind of work, there are plenty out there that are and they do an excellent job but the YEARBOOK is different and any expansion along the lines suggested would undoubtedly ruin it. The other, more practical alternative would be to split the book in two, to have British Military Medals in Volume I and all others in Volume II and that is something that we have considered, considered and, for the moment set aside for one simple reason and that is that literally hundreds, if not thousands, of readers of the MEDAL YEARBOOK are fascinated by the information that they pick up on awards and decorations that many of them didn’t even know existed. Every time a new YEARBOOK is published we get dozens of letters and scores of ‘phone calls from those who have delved into the book to find out one thing about one medal only to discover myriad facts about another. There are those die hards who only collect Victorian Campaign medals who will suddenly discover the fascinating story behind a life-saving award, or those who collect only WWI Gallantry who will be struck by the information given regarding the South African Medals for Combating Terrorism. Many of course don’t scan the other sections for fascinating tit-bits or interesting little quirks, they are content to just use the YEARBOOK as a price guide when collecting in their field and that is fine, but those who do flick through the sections we include new each year are often pleasantly surprised. Try it, you may be too! The MEDAL YEARBOOK is available from Token Publishing Ltd price £17.95 (+£3 p&p) for the soft back or £22.95 (+£3.50 p&p) for the hardback.

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