Orders & Medals Society of America Forums General Chat The One That Started It All

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    When I first started collecting medals I had no idea what I was doing.  I bought items that were interesting to me at the time and that were in my price range.  After a few years of collecting, I had a jumble of random items that really didn’t give me any sense of joy.

    It was at that time I received the best advice, “Find your niche and stick with it.”  What might that be?  What can be my specialty that isn’t being collected by everyone else?  A fledgling internet exposed me to the overwhelming variety that is our hobby.  A new website called ‘eBay’ opened up a marketplace at my feet.  So, the search for something to call my own began.  And then one day, it hit me,…

    While searching eBay for “medal” I came across one that said it was for an organization known as the Military Order of the Serpent.  What was that?  This medal was unlike anything I had ever seen.  It was amazing.  It was inspiring.  It was,… $172.50?!  I was prepared to spend double(!) the price of my largest purchase to date.  Twenty years ago, a crazy amount of money for me to spend was $30.  I was all set to bid in the auctions final minute when the price skyrocketed to more than 5x my highest offer.

    I was heartbroken.  It was “the one that got away”.  But, I was determined to learn more about this organization, its insignia, and why somewhere, out in the world, two people were willing to spend a small fortune on this one, lone badge.  I was hooked and the Military Order of the Serpent became my niche.

    What’s the story about what got you started your collection?

    Kevin Beyer
    OMSA #7096


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    Great story!

    I don’t honesty know how or when I first got interested in medals (I was very young…) but I do know what set me on my current path of collecting information rather than things. As a child most of my pocket money went on medals. One day I picked up one that the vendor could only tell me was Pakistani. I took it round to the local museum, which had a small numismatics department, and asked their ‘medals expert’ – who didn’t know either, saying that it was probably something to do with Pakistan gaining independence given the date on it.

    So I started researching and eventually discovered that I had a Pakistan Republic Medal 1956, which was instituted on 16 March 1957, by the President of Pakistan to commemorate the inauguration of the Republic of Pakistan on 23 March 1956.

    I found the process of finding out exciting and, coupled with the realisation that a whole book on medals was cheaper than most of the medals in my pocket-money fuelled price range, I stopped collecting actual medals and concentrated on knowing about them instead!

    fred j borgmann

    Back in 1964 I found 4 Prussian campaign medals on the bid board in my favorite Milwaukee coin shop which sparked my interest in German states medals. Then within a year or so at the annual Milwaukee Numismatic Society coin show I found 2 Wisconsin National Guard medals, Spanish-American War and Mexican Border Service medals, which hooked me for life.


    Every so often when I was young, my dad would pull out his army medals and let me and my brother “examine” them. I was hooked on army medals after that. In 1984 I purchased a World War II victory medal at a surplus store in Seaside, California. I still have that medal. That first purchase (and my dad’s medals) set me on my path to collecting.

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