On the trail
Volume 39, Number 9, October 2001
One of the beauties of collecting medals is the fact that they are, in the main, named and as such traceable. A QSA can be linked, directly, to the man who fought in the campaign, his Regimental records can be unearthed and the larger picture can be seen. A collector can find out when the soldier enlisted, what rank he achieved, whether he was ever in trouble, what battles he fought in and, maybe most importantly, what other medals he might have won. Fortunately most groups of medals stay together, either kept lovingly by families or because a dealer recognises their worth as being more when sold together than if they were split, however more often than not it is the collector who has undertaken painstaking research, has trudged from fair to fair, scanned dealers list upon dealers list or attended auction after auction in order to bring groups of medals back together again and it is those same collectors who make the MEDAL TRACKER service of MEDAL NEWS so very valuable. For those readers not familiar with the MEDAL TRACKER the service is one we have been running for years but which has expanded more recently from just a few names to hundreds each month. The aim behind the service is to reunite those broken groups, search for medals lost or stolen or, as is often the case for collectors to hunt down medals they know exist but cannot find at shows or on dealers lists. Using the MEDAL TRACKER could not be simpler, just fill in the form at the back of the magazine with the relevant details, the most important details are the name of the recipient and the medals sought, anything else is a bonus although it must be said that in the case of the more popular medals awarded to those with popular names then more information is often very necessary. Finding the right Victory Medal to the right John Smith would be far easier if Mr Smith’s regiment, rank and service number were known. After the form has been sent into Token Publishing – with a nominal cover charge of £5 per entry for non-subscribers but at no cost at all to subscribers - the name is entered on to our data base and appears in the next two available issues of MEDAL NEWS, it will appear in table format with no reference made to the searchers name or address. The idea is then for other readers to scan those pages of names and, if they have the medal or medals being sought, or know anything about them, then they will get in touch with us, either to let us know that we may pass their details on, to ask us to pass on information about the medal anonymously or simply to let the person searching know a little bit more about the man or medal they are looking for. Quite often we have generous readers who will send in swathes of research to be passed on to the person who placed the tracker just to help them in their quest, other times members of the family of the person whose medals are being sought will contact us and ask to be put in touch with the seeker - we have reunited branches of more than one family that way - and equally often we will unite collectors with the same interests who are then able to help each other with their hobby. Ideally of course we would like to be able to re-unite groups of medals but that isn’t the sole reason for the TRACKER’s existence, it is there to help collectors with their hobby in anyway it can; so if you have any information about any of the medals sought or about the men they were awarded to, even if it is just to say that the medals are in a museum somewhere or that the recipient fought in such and such a battle, please do get in touch. On average we write to 20 people who place TRACKER ads every month, that is a good percentage but we’d like to make it better. With your help we can.
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