May 9, 2019 at 1:23 am #37578
I’m an Italian collector of orders and decorations; my interests are focused on the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the awards generally given for valour and gallantry in time of war.
Early in April, at a show held in Germany, I’ve met a fellow collector who usually has interesting awards for trade: this time, he showed me an early, US Medal of Honor, with the ribbon of the 1896-1903/4 type; a beautiful piece with Paquet’s signature, although unnamed. We’ve quickly found an Agreement and the medal was added to my collection. He told me that from the same collection there was a further piece, but he omitted to take it to the show, but I had the opportunity to see a few pictures of it at least.
We met again at the Milan show “Militalia” on the past weekend and had the opportunity to see and acquire also this second Medal of Honor.
Not a Civil War piece from Bull Run or Gettysburg, or deserved on the field of any other famous battle, or from the Indian Wars… just a 27th Maine Vols. piece, named to Samuel S. Smith, “E” Company.
Smith is present in the Regiment’s roll, but not in col. Wentworth’s list of those eligible for the MoH. I assume that this medal is one of those col. Wentworth kept in the case, stored in his barn, later plundered by unknown people, shortly after the colonel’s death.
The strange story of the 27th Maine’s Medals of Honor is in my opinion interesting, although no act of gallantry is connected to any of the namings.
My question is: how could be considered these medals? Both of early type, official strikings, one unnamed and one officially given by the Secretary of Defense, but never consigned to the recipient and, in 1917, withdrawn/erased from the Roll of Honor.
Are they both “illegal” in the USA?
By the way, I also possess the Purple Heart named to General Eric K. Shinseki, presented to my late father (then a ret. Lieut. General, Italian Army), when the U.S. Officer was on duty at FTASE, Verona, on Sept. 4th, 1990. I presume that also this piece would be impossible to be taken to the US.
I am more than happy with the two Medals of Honor: it is a beautiful medal; its all-bronze manufacure and low-profile appearance, besides the historical significance, puts it on the same level as the British Victoria Cross
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