Orders & Medals Society of America Forums American Medal Collecting Federal Medals Searching for Meritorious Honor Award, State Dept. for purch

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    OMSA Membership,

    I am trying to locate and purchase above mentioned award, for myself, which was awarded to me in December 2008 at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany. After months of looking and reading up, as much as I can, I have repeatedly found this set, with same image, on ebay, for about the same price, around $90 (US): http://www.ebay.de/itm/US-Department-of … 5337554%26

    My problem is that, this seller, who has a great rating for ebay, says it is new when it was supposedly no longer given with the recognition since late 2006/early 2007. I have repeatedly contacted Pete at Dondero, Inc., which seems to have at one time produced these, with no response. Next, when comparing it against those pictures of 2 of your members, Ed Muller ( https://www.omsa.org/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=8910 ) and J. McCulloch, it is not as detailed. I just wanted to have this for myself or my family, but would prefer to know I have something original. I have noted the detail missing in the eagle, the feathers, the arrows, the stars, and the Meritorious Honor Award wording. Not nearly the same detail. I do realize now that later versions did not have the Meritorious Honor Award with raised lettering (what I would prefer), but with imprinted lettering, but even with my admittedly inexperienced eye and less than novice knowledge, I think I see a fake or a less than worthy work of art here.

    So, my question is quite simple: If I join OMSA, can anyone give me the statistical probability that I might be able to find a OMSA member willing to sell me an honest original? I read your statement on this page that OMSA does not sell medals, and I fully understand and respect that, but would be much more likely to join if I knew I had good odds of finding a OMSA member, who honors your Bylaws and code of ethics, and has the real deal for sale.

    Any advice, would be more than appreciated. I can, if necessary, provide a copy of the approved award nomination, and picture of me being awarded by the Consul General (Powell) at the award ceremony, as well as the Certificate itself with the Ambassador’s (Timken) name and signature.

    Very respectfully,

    Andy Midura


    Mr. Midura,

    Welcome to the website.

    Although my area of interest and knowledge does not coincide with your question, I am sure that someone will be able to answer the specifics concerning the Meritorious Honor Award.

    As you mention, OMSA does not sell medals but many OMSA members also sell medals. All OMSA members are expected to adhere to the OMSA Code of Ethics and, thus, only sell genuine medals. For your information, go to: https://www.omsa.org/content/membership-handbook-0

    I should add that, while I am not 100% certain, I believe that the ebay seller you reference is an OMSA member.

    Good luck on your hunt.

    Best wishes,

    John Allgood


    Thank you Mr. Allgood,

    I paid my membership fees for one year with OMSA today, and am awaiting confirmation or acceptance. I find it interesting that a medal like the one I seek can be so different in appearance on the obverse unless it is being produced by a different contractor than the original. I guess I am just disappointed if this is also an original, which I can accept it may be, just of a lesser quality in detail than I would have preferred. I also have no idea even if someone was interested in selling the kind of version I was hoping for how much it would go for. I assume it would be at the same starting price or higher than that of the one I am still watching on ebay. I will continue to try to learn more about this particular item from the forum, from current members, and anywhere else I might glean some more background.

    I think I would like to eventually start reading and studying more about German orders and medals (pick a niche instead of trying to collect everything), since I live here in Deutschland and can read and speak the language, but am also aware of the strict laws on anything National Socialist here, so I am doubtful that much would still exist that hasn’t been scooped up years or decades ago by professionals or collectors like those of OMSA. I often search for these at the many fleamarkets all year long but have almost never seen anything, at least with the swastika, and I have noticed those collectors that seem to know exactly what they want and what they are looking at. I would guess that takes years and years and years to build up to a point where you not only can recognize an authentic object but know some of the history and story behind its value or significance to the group or branch or nation it belongs to. I hope to learn a lot on my own and from groups like this one and am glad I finally found something to keep me busy.


    ed muller

    Andrew et al;

    The medal listed in that ebay sale was a Dondero Inc piece. Some history on State Department medals. Originally when State wanted to issue medals it went to a company known to it to make badges and other militaria, A.H. Dondero. A.H. Dondero was a retired col. He made up the medals and sold them to state department. In 1975 he retired and sold the company to an employee Pete Hecht who changed the name to Dondero Inc and continued to sell medals to State as well as the Arms Control and DIsarmament Agency. In 1990 – 1991 the State Department and Dondero had a fallling out State wanted to compete the contract and demanded the dies from Dondero. Dondero stated that they owned the dies since they never were paid for them and only paid to stamp out medals. State went to another contractor Lordship Industries. Lordship Industries lost its State Department contract in about 1996 when it was debarred (prohibited from contracting with the UGS) for selling Medals of Honor. State went to another company also in New York but totally unrelated to Lordship. That company had the contract until approximately the time that State stopped awarding medals and gave certificates (and cash – to Department employees).

    While state was giving medals it frequently did not give medals when group awards were made, only certificates. Those group recipients did on occoasion sometimes get medals. I know of two instances. After 2008 (January) certificates were given but there is no reason why the recipient could not purchase the previous medal on ebay or the ribbon bar for that matter. The ribbon bar is authorized for wear on the Uniform in hierarcy above state or local medals and behind military awards. (I am being vague on details because I am not exactly certain where it goes precisely.

    The raised letter Meritorious Honor Award variation appears to be due to that new company in New York having to make its own dies. Attached is a Superior Honor Award which shows the mark of the company on the reverse next to the word sterling. The obverse has raised letters. They had the last contract so Andrew if you want one that might have been awarded you might need to wait for some current recipient to give up his. Otherwise the Dondero pieces which might not have the same detail are GOOD.

    Much of the information above I found out when I visited Pete Hecht of Dondero and bought some of his remaining stock of materials including his approval masters. TOM from Milarttom bought up Dondero’s remaining stock of Meritorious Honor Awards which were not on ribbons. Tom had Graco hang them from the ribbon which he also bought from Dondero. SO those are the real medals re-hung. There are some that show up with LI (supposedly for Lordship Industries) on them that for Silver lack the Sterling and for bronze look really bad. Avoid those.

    I have pm’ed you about possible purchase of my back up that I did get from Tom as my first was acquired directly from Pete Hecht and Dondero. I also was awarded the MHA in 2008 at the same time as I received by Carreer Acheivement Medal. They gave me the Carreer Acheivement Medal because they knew I collected. But had run out of MHA.

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    ed muller

    More on Dondero and the difference with old and new hanging ribbons. Dondero fastened their ribbons by glueing. The newer hung ribbons from ebay and hung by crimp brooch. Attached is a picture of an original as hung bu Dondero. I was informed that Pete’s Mom used to do the glueing!

    Note the piece of ribbon hanging down slightly from the bar. That is glued so the ribbon hangs straigth every time.

    You must be logged in to view attached files.

    Hello Ed,

    Thank you for the history and background, I found it very interesting, especially the various suppliers or producers over the years and why it changed contractors. I had in the past few months came across the LI history of what they did with the Medals of Honor, which makes it more understandable some of the attempts that were made to try to prevent similar situations from occuring. I am interested and will be in contact about the details for the MHA. Thank you! This was exactly why I became a member, but now I can say that I look forward to continuing, especially with German Military medals of the WWI and WWII periods.

    Best regards,

    Andrew Midura

    Josh Wilberger


    I’ve been honored with this award – but being 2018 they of course don’t have the medal anymore.  This information ahs been helpful.  I hope to find a vendor here to purchase from.


    jb floyd

    I’ve had several requests for these medals, but they only place I see them is on Ebay.  None of the usual suspects for civilian agency awards has had any for several years now.

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