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Old medals

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Old medals

Postby suzy100 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:00 pm

Can anyone recommend where I can get my ancestors medals cleaned and restored? I live in Sussex.
They also need new ribbons.
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Re: Old medals

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:04 pm

I can't answer that - but if anyone is more versed in medals than me, can they comment: Should medals be cleaned? (because I was always taught that cleaning coins was a no-no) And should ribbons be replaced? I keep looking at my grandpa's medals and wondering a similar question but - that's the ribbon on the medals that he was given....

Sorry for sort of hijacking your thread but I think it's important....
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Re: Old medals

Postby Jethro Tull » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:31 pm

Hi suzy100,I can't recommend anyone to clean medals etc, I am a keen collector of militaria and medals and all of the ones I have I have chosen to leave in the state I received them in and to not clean any, some have been cleaned by previous custodians and I will now leave these as they are. I like the look of toned medals. As Adrian mentions about coins, I always think the same applies to medals, the fine detail can be lost by cleaning. The ribbons can cause debate too. I like to keep the original ribbons but for display purposes I can appreciate new ones may look better. I keep all of the original ribbons that came with the medals and only replace any missing ribbons occasionally, depending on my display. There are plenty of companies out there supplying replacement ribbons. The WW1 watered silk ones are difficult to get good replacements for though. There is a good forum, British Medals Forum, with a wealth of knowledge and guidance far more than I could ever give, also has lots of links to medal sites too.
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Re: Old medals

Postby midshipman » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:38 pm

I too would like to add my two penneth worth. I was once a member of O.M.R.S. Orders and Medals Research Society and agree strongly that they should be left alone and as original as possible. Although if you are set on obtaining new ribbons etc then get them "court mounted". Windsor Medals provide this service and can be found on any Internet search.

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Re: Old medals

Postby phsvm » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:57 pm

I'm going to say the same about Dead Man's Pennies as well. I was at a genealogy fair recently and there was one for sale on a stall run by someone selling medals and the like.

I'm sorry Jethro Tull as I don't mean to cause offence but I somehow find it offensive that people make money out of the (often) misfortunes of others. It isn't the collectors who I'm sure look after their collections with diligence and pride but the sellers who I feel cross about. I understand about the sale of medals, especially after the War when money was needed and today when some medals are worth so much that families make difficult choices but I still feel saddened seeing them for sale.

Seeing a Dead Man's Penny polished to a brilliant glow, to me, added innsult to injury.
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Re: Old medals

Postby suzy100 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:15 pm

Hmm well thank you everyone. They are in pretty dia state and with either no ribbons or very tattered ones. I had seen one company up North that said it restored them and I actually thought that is was better to restore them but obviously from all your comments this is not so. It is a shame because they look pretty bad and I thought restoring them would make them last longer for the next generations to appreciate.
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Re: Old medals

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:54 pm

There's a difference between cleaning to remove dirt etc, and polishing to remove the patina. Think of the comments that get made on the Antiques Roadshow.
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Re: Old medals

Postby adrianwander » Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:22 am

As a medal collector I think it is important to say there is a divergence of opinion on cleaning. Many collectors will say don't clean including myself. But many do clean. Remember the medals will have been worn by your ancestor and cleaned and polished before every wearing. Medals to Guards units are notorious for being polished! If you do clean use something non-abrasive. The main issue is that the naming round the edge can become illegible if worn away. Personally I also re-ribbon but keep the original ribbons. But remember, there is no certainty that the ribbons are original. The medals would have been worn regularly and if the ribbons became tatty your ancestor would have swapped them. If you want to create a family display you will do no harm lightly cleaning and re-ribboning.


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