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Elmar Lang

The Medal of Honor outside the USA

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Hello,

thanks to a kind, fellow collector, I've been able to acquire two early Medals of Honor, one unnamed (with the 1896 ribbon) and one named, from the Civil War, with its proper ribbon.

The second one, was not awarded to a hero of Bull Run, Shiloh, or Gettysburg, but to a soldier of the 27th Maine Vols.: at least a piece with a curious history behind it. Both pieces, with the engraver's signature of Paquet.

The man whose name is engraved on the reverse, is Samuel S. Smith, from the "E" Company. He isn't in Col. Wentworth's list so I assume that this medal is from the group the late regiment's commander preserved in his barn, until it was plundered and the medals dispersed. We know that in 1917, all the awards to the 27th have been withdrawn and the names, canceled from the Roll of Honor.

My collecting interest is centered on the Austrian monarchy, but I find fascinating certain awards for valour and gallantry from other countries too: the early, US Medal of Honor is to me highly attractive for its beautiful design, and its "low-profile" appearance, in my opinion not far from the British Victoria Cross.

I've read about the law forbidding in the USA the trade and limiting the property of the MoH, the Purple Heart and other federal awards. My concern is about possible problems -as a collector- possessing these two pieces.

By the way, I see that a well-known dealer from Canada has sold and is selling beautiful pieces of this medal. One, shall also be for sale at Hermann Historica…

All the best,

Enzo (E.L.)

 

 

 

 

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As I understand it (being neither a lawyer nor an American), as long as you don't try to sell your Medals of Honor in the USA you should be OK. Probably best not to sell to an American citizen even elsewhere.

I've been twice asked to facilitate sales by European citizens of the MoH. One was sold to another European, the other went to a museum in America, who went to great lenths to provide proof that they WERE a genuine museum and thus entitled to purchase and display an MoH.

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Always highly amusing at OMSA public days are obvious feds (they ought to have flashing neon hats) furtively asking all members of the trade if they have MOHs  as they are fervent collecors. As far as I am aware noone has been stupid enough to fall for it.

Paul

 

 

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I believe under the Stolen Valor act  it is illegal to buy or sell an officially made unnamed specimen within the US

Paul 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Great Dane said:

Are US citizens allowed to own unnamed ones?

US citizens are allowed to own both named and unnamed Medals of Honor.

Makes no difference if it's inside or outside USA.

 

Edited by Matthew Macleod

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"are allowed..."?

OK, now I'm a little confused...

So what is NOT allowed (for the MoH)?
Apart from wearing it if you didn't earn it, of course...

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What is illegal is: buying, attempting to buy, soliciting for purchase, mailing, shipping, importing, exporting, manufacturing, selling, attempting to sell, advertising for sale, trading, bartering, exchanging for anything of value or producing blank certificates of receipt for it.

As for wearing it if you did not earn it- you are allowed to do so. Same with claiming you were awarded it- also perfectly legal.

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Thank you for the kind, interesting replies. 

Now, I assume I'd better avoid to go to a militaria show in the US, with my MsoH in the pocket. But I'm feeling much better, because I could pretend to be a Civil War veteran, decorated with the Medal of Honor. 

Interesting, Paul's remark on the "perfectly disguised" Federals mixed in the crowd... 

I'm also feeling much safe now, not existing the risk to see out of home a Chevrolet van of some "Acme plumbing Co." (with a tall antenna on top), black dressed gentlemen casually reading newspapers and me being their objective for an 'extraordinary rendition' (codename: "Wentworth's Barn"). Actually, I wouldn't like to live in Ft. Leavenworth, dressed in some orange overall... 

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I think orange would would add to your already distinguished persona

Paul

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I agree that orange is a delightful colour, but the large, black inscriptions printed on the back of those overalls, are disgracefully without any taste.

Back to the topic, I've read about a relatively recent fact, where a person from Canada, sold a MoH on eBay (or a similar web-based place). The buyer, who actually was a Federal agent, asked the seller to personally take the piece to the US. The seller, aware of the law, was reluctant, but at the end accepted, after the insistence of the supposedly real buyer. Once entered in the US, at the meeting place, he was immediately arrested; the piece (another 27th Maine medal…) confiscated, etc. etc. I don't know anything about the fate of that gentleman.

In my case -would I decide to part with one or both my medals, I will take as an alarming sign, if the "collector" would kindly ask to consign the piece at an US Consulate...

Enzo (E.L.)

Edited by Elmar Lang

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Any quarter decent lawyer would have got him off on entrapment although he deserved a lengthy sentence for gross stupidity.

Paul

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You're right Paul, but I think that a ferocious "foreign fighter" risks much less than an openly recognized owner of an US Medal of Honor, as soon as he would be showing his "mens rea", trying to sell his piece.

Now, I begin to fear any flying drone (although no mens rea, yet…).

Enzo

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