The OMSA Membership Handbook contains the rules and regulations of the society and information about how our society functions.  Within this handbook, you will find general information, but more importantly our Constitution and By-Laws. The OMSA Membership Handbook link is provided below for quick reference to benefit of the membership.

Membership Handbook 

Articles of the OMSA Constitution & By-Laws:

Article I – Name & Purpose
Article II – Dues
Article III – Qualification of Members
Article IV – Resignation, Suspension, Expulsion & Reinstatement of Members
Article V – Elected Officers and Directors
Article VI – Election of Officers and Directors
Article VII – Removal from Office of Officers & Directors
Article VIII – Meetings
Article IX – Financial Stipulations
Article X – Society Publications
Article XI – Miscellaneous Provisions
Article XII – Amendments

The OMSA Code of Ethics is also contained within the OMSA Membership Handbook and is cited here in its entirety to help emphasize our high ethical standards.

Code of Ethics for the Orders and Medals Society of America

In order to promote the objectives of the Society and the interests of its members, this Code of Ethics has been approved by the Board of Directors:


Orders, decorations and medals are a unique art form that embodies culture, tradition, and history.  The Orders and Medals Society of America (OMSA) is a private, not-for-profit organization whose members share a diverse but common interest in this area.  This interest may be numismatic (collecting specific orders, decorations or medals); academic (studying them); historical (researching recipients, units, or events); or it may combine all three.  We understand and accept the fact that orders, decorations and medals may have great (or little) intrinsic, economic or historic value and that they fundamentally relate to people as well as events.  Our efforts must therefore respect the rights and property of others, and it is toward that end that this statement of principles is endorsed by the OMSA Board of Directors and made part of the Society’s Code of Ethics.

A. Orders, decorations, and medals identifiable with specific recipients are the rightful property of those individuals unless or until they make an informed decision to convey them to another party.

  • It is unethical to obtain, or to make an effort to obtain, an order, decoration, or medal by theft or fraud from its rightful owner.
  • Because theft or fraud of any order, decoration, or medal from its rightful owner is a criminal act as well as unethical behavior, members and officers of OMSA will give their full and complete support to any criminal justice agency investigating or prosecuting the theft or fraud of any order, decoration, or medal.  The failure to do so is unethical.
  • For the purposes of this code of ethics, the following terms have the meanings shown below:
  •      a.   Fraud: an intentional perversion of the truth, or by concealing that which should have been disclosed, for the purpose of inducing another to part with some valuable thing belonging to him.  Includes false suggestions, suppression of truth, surprise, trick, cunning, dissembling, and any unfair way by which another is cheated.
  •      b.   Theft: the taking of property without the owner’s consent, with the intent to deprive the owner permanently of the possession, use or benefit of the property.

B.  Orders, decorations and medals represent achievement, sacrifice, and heroism and must be treated with the respect they properly deserve.

  • The improper wearing of an order, decoration or medal with the expectation that others will incorrectly believe the wearer is a bona fide recipient is unethical.
  •  The display of any order, decoration or medal in a fashion intended to inappropriately defame or disgrace a recipient, the award itself, or the nation to which the award belongs is unethical.


It is unethical to reproduce or knowingly sell or trade reproductions, copies, or fakes of orders, decorations, or medals (or associated collectable material) unless such reproductions, copies or fakes are clearly identified and permanently marked as such, and, in the case of United States decorations or medals, such reproductions are not forbidden by any law, statute or regulation (see for example 18 USC 704).


A. Individual Medals: It is unethical to alter any order, decoration or medal, or to knowingly offer for sale an altered order, decoration or medal, unless the alteration is made known to all prospective purchasers or trading partners. “Alteration” means the removal, addition or modification of names, numbers, or attachments.

B. Groups: It is unethical to knowingly offer for sale or trade any group of orders, decorations, or medals which contain a medal (s) added to make the group “complete” or otherwise more desirable without first informing all potential buyers or trading partners that the group has been thus altered.  This includes the addition of otherwise legitimate medals in which the original was missing from the group, but does not include the addition of original medals named to the recipient of an incomplete group.


Many members of OMSA sell orders, decorations and medals.  Doing so is essential to the vitality of the hobby and is the principal means by which collectors are able to acquire items for their collections.  Because of this, the Society encourages an open and honest commerce among its members.  In general, the Society does not (and will not) involve itself in private commercial transactions among members, including those who are dealers.  Thus, complaints of a purely commercial nature are outside the scope of these ethics.  However, the right to engage in such commerce also entails certain responsibilities, particularly if it involves advertising in Journal of the Orders and Medals Society of America(JOMSA)or transactions made at OMSA sponsored functions, such as our annual convention.  Every member who offers orders, decorations, or medals for sale or trade (whether as a formal dealer or as an individual) agrees to the following obligations as a condition of membership in the Society:

A. Advertising in JOMSA: Any person who purchases an order, decoration or medal in response to an advertisement in JOMSA may return it for a full refund within forty-five (45) days from the date of purchase upon presentation of a reasonable claim that the order, decoration or medal was not as stated in the advertisement.  Note, however, that the failure to return the item in the condition in which it was sent nullifies this right of return.

B. Altered or Fake Medals: Any person who purchases an order, decoration or medal at an OMSA-sponsored event or as a result of an advertisement appearing in The JOMSA may return it within forty-five (45) days for a full refund upon presentation of a reasonable claim that it is not genuine (i.e., that it is a fake or that it has been improperly altered in any way).

C. Convention Sales: OMSA Convention Chairmen may establish more stringent rules pertaining to the sale or barter of orders, medals and decorations at the annual convention, but may not abrogate anything contained in this Code of Ethics.  NOTE: Rules for the sale of orders, medals and decorations at an OMSA convention must be made available to the membership either prior to the Convention or at the time of registration.