The Medal Collectors’ Cooperative

My name is Jeffrey Floyd and I’m a medal collector. I’ve been in this fascinating hobby for over 50 years and, in addition to medals, have always accumulated information, whether or not I could use it at the time. I chose the name “Medal Collectors’ Cooperative” for this blog for two reasons: (1) This was the name OMSA’s founder, S.G. (Yash) Yasinitsky, used when he started publishing what was to become the Journal of the Orders and Medals Society of America, and (2) because I envision this blog truly to be a cooperative effort among all interested parties.

I expect the scope of this blog to be quite wide. I’ll emphasize the decorations and medals of the United States, but I expect to follow the data wherever it leads, just as Yash did. I have collected US medals, British medals, Latin American medals and simply things I like that don’t lend themselves to categories. After many evolutionary steps, I focus now on foreign awards to Americans and American awards to foreigners. I’ll share a lot of that with you. Many years ago, I acquired the research files of James Peterson, author of the OMSA monograph on Japanese awards and a noted collector of US city and local awards for war service. Jim built a file of over 60,000 3×5 cards to record his findings. I will be mining Jim’s records for nuggets of data that may spark further research, or just be that one fact someone was looking for.

So, I solicit your input, your ideas and your support.  We should all be able to learn something.

19 Comments
  1. Lovely idea – looking forwards to hearing what you have to say!

    Megan

  2. Jeff

    I think it is so exciting to think that I will have a chance to correspond with you on this blog regarding medals and decorations in areas of common interest. One of the things I really enjoy is the opportunity to learn from and to correspond with experts like yourself regarding those orders, medals and decorations I am researching. I am also, like you, always eager to learn more about medals and decorations outside of my specific area of research interest. Each time I find new information or learn something new it reminds me of why I enjoy this avocation so much. I am really looking forward to your blog and to benefiting from your experience and expertise.

    Rick

  3. Jeff;

    I am looking forward to many entertaining conversations on this and other blogs.

    Ed

  4. Hello Jeff,
    My interest was piqued when I read in your intro to this blog…,”After many evolutionary steps, I focus now on foreign awards to Americans and American awards to foreigners. I’ll share a lot of that with you.”
    I have had a curious medal that was awarded to my grandfather in WWII. His official records indicate that he was awarded a Belgian Croix De Guerre with Palm device. What the award actually is, is a bit of a mystery. The medallion and palm are correct, but the cloth drape is incorrect. I have looked about as deep as I could muster. Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Mr. Dayton,

      Belgian Croix de Guerre ribbons often fade to a very pink tone, so they might not look like what you find on the ribbon charts. The cross illustrated is exactly what I would expect to see for a late WWII award There was a book titled “Belgium Remembers”, published in the late 1940s that lists American recipients of Belgian awards, with the Royal Decree making the award. Unfortunately, the book does not include citations, but it’s the go-to source for such awards.

      • Thank you so much for the clarification. I will look up the book you referenced. Oddly, the material shows no real sign of fading, as it and the associated ribbon bar are of uniform color (even when unfolded) and the vertical stripes are very dark green (no sign of fade). I value your knowledge and will display it as is (along with the ribbon bar) and not seek replacements of more recent manufacturing. Unless suggested otherwise. Thank you again.

        • “Fade” may not be a technically accurate term, but Belgian Croix de Guerre ribbons often turn up with a distinctly pink or salmon hue. But, ribbon manufacturing was not the highest priority in 1945 in Belgium, so it’s probably a matter of varying dye lots at the time. I’d leave the medal exactly as it is. If the ribbon has not deteriorated, there’s no reason to change it.

          What was your grandfather’s name? I’ll check my copy of the book.

          • Understandably so as other priorities had far greater precedence than the coloration of materials used for awards. My grandfather’s name was Dupre’ “Jack” Sassard. Im not sure of the date of presentation, so he may have been a LtCol or Col at the time. He was one of Gen Einsenhower’s and Gen Bradley’s Intel officers, so he may have been assigned to SHAEF, 12th Army Group, or back at the Pentagon at the time of presentation.

          • Lt Col Dupre Sassard was cited in Belgian Royal Decree No. 2265 of May 2, 1946. The general citation at the head of the decree says: “For extraordinary war services rendered to Belgium in its liberation and defense of his territory (1944-1945), the Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm is conferred on:”

  5. That’s awesome research…. I have all of the original documents, award citations and certificates for the rest of the decorations. That would be a wonderful addition/pairing of those. Would it be possible for you to copy/scan that page citing the royal decree?

  6. Let me chime in on this blog. I generally focus on awards and decorations of the District of Columbia Militia and National Guard. Several of my pieces are posted in the DC National Guard collection elsewhere on OMSA.org. I may have the best collection of DCNG gold and sterling silver medals as well as early non-precious metal DCNG awards “out there.” I’d love to know of others. You can see many of my DCNG items here as well as on Pinterest at my page: District of Columbia National Guard Medals, Militaria and Photos.

  7. Hello All,

    I am posting here now, because I have a Union Spanish American Award that I would like to get more info on.I have heard that this is the place to do the research but this award seems to have been a very limited issue medal.
    Any info would be great!

    Tina

  8. Sorry, I wanted to include a picture of the bottom Jewel which is the most unique in my opinion. The Top Jewel is solid 14K and the bottom Jewel is solid 18k.

    Thank you!
    Tina

  9. This is a United Spanish War Veterans Past Commander-in-Chief’s jewel. The 4-star shoulder strap on the ribbon represents the Commander-in-Chief; the position on the ribbon indicates a past officer. If he were still serving in the position, the shoulder strap would be used as a top bar.

    Most senior-level past officers’ jewels are engraved with the recipient’s name and dates of service on the reverse of the shoulder strap.

  10. Hello JB Floyd,

    Thank you so much for your reply to my post! Yes, and that is pretty much the extent of the info that I can find on this wonderful old Badge. The Bar is inscribed with a name ” H E Williams” but no rank, just his address, most likely his address at the time of receiving this badge. Here are a couple more photos. What I would like to know is how many of these Chief Commanding Officer Badges were made? I know there were hundreds of thousands made in Brass but this is the only one that I can find in 14k & 18K Solid Golds….please excuse my ignorance, I normally collect antique Jewelry. I was told by one collector that this was a custom, one of a kind piece. My understanding has always been that we only have 1 Commander in Chief so this is a bit confusing for me.

    Tina

  11. It looks like Harry E. Williams (1879-1972) was the Department of Oregon Commander in 1910-1911, prior to being the USWV Commander-in-Chief, so it’s likely that the Portland address was his home address when he left the Commander-in-Chief’s position.

    A USWV commander-in-chief served a 1-year term, usually starting at an annual encampment and ending at the next national encampment. There was only one 4-star position in the organization at any one time, but past CinC’s could wear their badges for as long as they were active in the USWV. So, past CinC badges are scarce, but can be found. There were a number of manufacturers of the badges and each had the capability to make a past CinC’s badge, although it’s unlikely that any one made more than one at a time.

    One note, an individual’s rank in the USWV is based upon his position in the organization, and not connected to his military rank. So, a commander-in-chief could have served as a private in the Army.

  12. Wow, Thank You so much for all your time and knowledge on this topic and for the information on Mr Williams! I have been trying to find his “story” for awhile, it just was not making any sense to me but now it makes total sense!

    I feel extremely honored to be the new custodian of this old badge, I bid on it to begin with because it was selling for less than its scrap value and I did not want to have it end up being scraped! Because of the metal, I am learning so much about this short but important war!

    I am indented to you Mr Floyd!! Thank you again for everything!!
    Tina

    • Harry Egolf Williams served in the 1st North Dakota Infantry during the Spanish-American War. The regiment was heavily in the Philippine Insurrection as well.

      There was quite a gap between his service as the USWV’s Department of Oregon commander and his service as Commander-in-Chief. A 1951 news article notes that he was the USWV CinC in 1951.

      You can find an image of his grave on FindaGrave.com and Google searches on his full name should turn up more data on his life and service.

  13. Thanks to your information, I was finally able to find some of his history, I haven’t seen the news article you mention from 1951, but I did find a notation from 1950 when he was elected as the CinC. Apparently he served in WW1 as well ( if I am correct), I found a service record and other data showing he served as a Captain at Camp Lewis from 1917-1919 in USNR. I can see how researching these American Hero’s can be addicting…..I am now searching for pictures.

    I was able to find his Grave Marker, Thank you once again!!

    Tina

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