Orders & Medals Society of America Forums American Medal Collecting Federal Medals FBI strongarms MOHs from surplus dealer

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    Just became aware of this news item, it appears that the long-skirted FBI strong-armed a military surplus dealer into believing that mere possession of his display MOHs is an actionable offense. In other words, SNAFU, federal agents with functional illiteracy and political agendas.

    FBI honors Seattle store owner for yielding Medals of Honor

    Seattle Times, Originally published October 19, 2011

    The owner of a Seattle Army Navy surplus store was honored by the FBI on Wednesday for turning over four Medal of Honor awards that his father purchased for the store over the past several decades.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l … rd20m.html

    Bill (LM #91)


    Hi Bill,

    I am not very knowledgeable regarding Federal laws pertaining to Medals of Honor so I would like to ask this question: Do the laws apply equally to named medals as opposed to unnamed medals? It would appear to me that if the medal is not named or numbered it is an ‘example’ and should be allowed to be owned by collectors as an example of that award.
    When that medal is awarded to a named individual either by engraving, stamping, or numbering with an accompanying certificate, it develops a degree of sanctity by the very nature of the award. I for one would not feel comfortable owning another man’s award. I feel that these awards are sacred. The other day I and an associate were discussing this very same subject as it would pertain to a Marine Corps Brevet meda held in the Jack Goldman Collection at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. It was awarded to the recipient without being named or numbered.It is listed as being the most valuable item in the collection – it has no name or number. Several years later Mr. Studley minted numerous re-strikes using the original dies. I look forward to your comments.



    As a sort of answer: A medal is a medal is a medal. Medals are not sacred, not even in cult religions, they are just pieces of medal and ribbon that commemorate laudable past deeds (or at least most do). So it really doesn’t matter if a medal is engraved, numbered, or what have you. In the case at hand, the legal burden of proof was on the FBI to demonstrate that this person’s unnamed and unissued examples of the MOH were in fact either government property (that is pilfered from government supplies and therefore title to property never passed), or that these examples were simply part of those which were historically sold out the back door of the manufacturer. The first example is a mere theft of government property situation (Stolen Valor Act inapplicable), the second is a pre-Stolen Valor Act era misdemeanor criminal offense (in which under the original 18 USC §704 only the manufacturer was arguably liable under the law). Further, possession of a non-stolen MOH has never been a federal strict liability offense recognized in the entire history of 18 USC §704. And since this guy never had any inclination to sell his MOHs, the actions of the FBI here in misrepresenting the law can only be colored as not only dishonest, but also reprehensible (the FBI committing fraud, perish the thought, who would have ever thought of the day :o ).

    Bill (LM #91)


    Does anyone know what the FBI did with the medals they bullied out of the surplus dealer?

    Have they found their way to a museum or other legitimate holder of the Medal of Honor, or are they still in the evidence locker?


    jb floyd

    The medals are reportedly being given to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, a private non-profit organization, which for some reason wants "fake" Medals of Honor.

    So, the FBI confiscates the contraband medals from a private citizen and donates them them to a private corporation, where they apparently magically become non-contraband.

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