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World Record

Posted on Tue, 31 May 2022 by Karen Needs - Medal News

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An annual appeal SOMEHOW, and I’m not quite sure how, we are in June (well we will be by the time you read this) and that means we have to start thinking about the Medal Yearbook 2023. It will be the 29th Medal Yearbook hat Token Publishing Ltd will have produced and I don’t mind admitting I’m rather proud of what it has become. When we first started out with the 1995 edition of what was then the MEDAL NEWS Yearbook (we had produced an earlier version in conjunction with a third party but the less said about that the better) the tome was only 292 pages long, was mainly printed in black and white (with only the orders and the ribbon chart, painstakingly painted by a friend of mine, in colour) and it only featured some 368 medals. In the intervening years the Medal Yearbook has changed dramatically, we introduced a hardback version (in 2000 for the Millennium I believe) and, of course, brought in “modern” medals from other countries too (the first book only featured medals from Britain and the Empire, today the standard book includes British and Irish Medals, whilst the deluxe features the medals of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa as well). At 552 pages our current standard book is nearly twice the size of the first one we published, whilst at 696 pages the deluxe version completely dwarfs its ’90s predecessor. Over the years we’ve included medals from other countries, such as Malaysia and India, and rather interestingly we also, up until 2002, included United Kingdom Provincial Police Medals too. We took them out because we were producing our own book on Police Medals but we rather think it’s time to bring them back! So we are now appealing for help—if anyone has a Police Medal from any local UK force in their collection we’d be delighted to hear from you— email us, or send us, a colour photo if you can, along with a description of the medal (Medal Yearbook style if possible) and any evidence you might have to back up a valuation. Of course, we don’t only want help with the Provincial Police Medal section and we’d be delighted to hear from anyone who has any information, additions, corrections or adjustments which will help improve the book. One of the Yearbook’s strengths has always been that it’s a fluid title, we know there have been mistakes over the years and we always do our best to correct them when they’re pointed out—one classic example is the urban myth that surrounded the “wide H” and “narrow H” on the Memorial Plaque: for years it was put about that the Navy plaques had a narrower initial letter on the word “He” than plaques given to the next of kin of Army casualties, but in fact the design difference came about simply because of the need to include an “S” on some plaques for female casualties—we were guilty of perpetuating the falsehood for quite some time and without readers pointing out our error that myth might still be doing the rounds today! The book is supposed to be a handbook for the hobby, we want to get it right and welcome anything at all that helps with that endeavour. Saying that, the issue of pricing is always a contentious one and people regularly tell us how much more they paid for their medal than the Yearbook valuation, however, when questioned we invariably find out that they paid the price because it was the only such medal to that regiment, or it was awarded to a high ranking officer, or the recipient was recommended for a VC or killed in action or similar. That doesn’t mean our pricing is spot on and if there are any crazy anomalies do please let us know but always remember that the Yearbook is just a guide and is based on the price for a “basic” medal where the recipient was not a casualty, wasn’t decorated for bravery, wasn’t an officer, etc. So just because our Yearbook lists an army regiment 1914–15 trio as starting at £65 don’t expect to pay that for one awarded to a Lieutenant previously awarded an MC who was killed in action on the First Day of the Battle of the Somme! On another note, whilst checking through old Yearbooks to write this Comment, I spotted that the first one we published, 27 years ago, was £12.95; by 2002 it was £16.95 and then increased to £19.95 in 2006. 16 years later the current 2022 version is the same price as it was back then, if that’s not a bargain I don’t know what is!