Women at War
Volume 61, Number 3, March 2023
Tell us more! THANKS to all those who responded to last month’s editorial (“Of interest?”, February 2023) on the subject of whether or not articles and news pieces covering the medals costing £1,000s, the world records, etc., should continue. For those of you who didn’t see last month’s magazine, the query had been prompted by a disgruntled reader who said he was fed up with reading about things that cost a fortune when there was no coverage for collectors like him. The general consensus seems to be that people like hearing about the stratospheric prices being achieved at auction, like reading about the one off pieces, the Victoria Crosses, the high level gallantry groups, the Rorke’s Drift defenders et al. You like hearing about them both out of a sense of wonderment that such prices are being paid and because there is a general interest in what medals are out there (for example, this month’s “News & Views” carries a story about a medal to a suffragette I never knew existed). There’s also, apparently, always the thought that “maybe one day” you’ll win the lottery and get to be at least in with a chance at owning such a medal or group. Hope, it seems, springs eternal! That all said, there was also sympathy for the reader whose letter prompted the debate, and people do want to see other items covered—just not, it seems, in the “News & Views” or “Auction Highlights”. Few people want to hear about trios fetching what they should, no-one is interested in finding out their state and date QSAs are selling for what they expect, and few people care that a LS&GC didn’t fetch a crazy price—it’s when one does go for stratospheric money that they want to hear about it. And that makes perfect sense! So if the “ordinary” pieces (and I do use the term hesitantly, I mean no disrespect to anyone’s collection or theme, and certainly no disrespect to the original recipients of the medals, but you know what I mean) can’t be included in the News or Auction sections, then where to put them? We used to carry a feature called “Medal of the Month” which, as its name suggested, looked at a different medal each month but I’m not sure that’s the way to go now—after all, if you just want to know the basics of each medal ever issued you can read the MEDAL YEARBOOK (available now, £22.95 for the standard version, £29.95 for the deluxe!). So what should we do? We don’t want to run article after article on World War I trios—yes they are affordable and are relevant to many collectors but let’s face it, if someone is writing about their Uncle Bill’s experiences in the trenches it’s not always that interesting for others who have nothing to do with Uncle Bill. That’s why we try to vary the content of the magazine as much as possible—but that inevitably leads to articles about medals far more obscure than a 1914–15 Star—which takes us back to square one! Ideally we’d like more “numismatic” style articles, those that talk about naming styles, medal composition, die varieties, etc. But as so many of us collect the “man behind the medal” as much as the piece of metal itself, so the number of people writing on such subjects has dwindled. With that in mind, we would like to instead turn to you, our readers, and ask you to maybe put pen to paper about things in your collection—certainly if you’re lucky enough to own a VC or two then tell us, but I’m suspecting the vast majority of offerings will be about the less expensive gems. Perhaps you have a QSA awarded to a distant relative, or a Memorial Plaque to a man who once lived in your house. Maybe you still have the very first medal(s) you ever bought or maybe it’s your father’s World War II group that has pride of place in your collection. Perhaps you’re a teacher/lawyer/ chef/vicar and only collect medals to others in your profession. Or it could be that you only collect medals to recipients with unusual names (I know one collector who only collects medals to recipients with the names of birds, plants or animals—apparently he started after seeing an advert in this magazine from a gentleman looking for medals to “Eagle” and thought he would find out how many other “natural” names he could find, apparently he has over 40 now ranging from Birch to Wolf). Whether you have such an unusual theme or just want to showcase something in your collection, then let us know We don’t want much, we don’t need pages and pages from you, just a few hundred words or so (and a picture or two if possible) on any aspect of your own collection/experience you like. If we get enough of you writing in, we’ll even start a regular column; if we don’t, then it will be an occasional piece—but that’s OK, at least we’ll be doing something to try to broaden the appeal and make sure that those not spending £100,000s (i.e., most of us) don’t feel too left out. That said, we’ll keep reporting on the “big stuff” . . . you seem to like it!
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