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ThaiDave

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  1. Team, RE: Thai / Siam Interallied Victory Medal Study - Copies, Reproductions, and Fakes For about 6 years now I've been meaning to put together more information on Thai WW1 Interallied Victory Medal copies, and I've been closely following all sales I can find since then. I've several examples of this medal, both genuine and copy/fake, and about 150 photos of other examples (however, mostly low resolution as many come from the internet). Under close examination, normally it is not so difficult to distinguish between a genuine example and a copy when compared side by side. I've posted good quality pictures of genuine example and also some common copies on the medal forums, which should be sufficient to make this determination in most cases. Some time back I started, but didn't yet finish, a pictorial book of high resolution photos of different examples (see attached draft cover). I planned to make it a small private book via lulu.com (where I did my other draft Indochina medal books - in parallel to my web site www.indochinamedals.com). However, I wanted to get more example photos - especially different copies, and more information about when people have been finding these copies. Therefore, this is a request for anyone who has an example of a Thai WW1 Interallied Victory Medal - genuine and also copies (other than the two museum copies), to send me a high resolution photo / scan in good sharpness. In exchange, I will send you a printed copy of the book which will include the other example hi-resolution pictures. Likewise, I'd been keen to know if anyone has more specific information of purchase of various copies - especially purchase dates. i.e. How early back has Shank been selling his copies ? How early back did Blass start selling his copies - (Laslo Repro #2). Does anyone know the source of other copies ? How many have these copiers made ? Or any other information about other copies. Likewise, if anyone has any other references for this medal, in other published sources, this would be useful - including other books which might have a small section on it. Perhaps also any old manufacturer catalogs, if there are really any other manufacturers other than the first run (i.e. the Delande remake - which is not actually documented anywhere that is public so far, or any potential others) ? For anyone interested, send me a PM or email. Rgds, Dave ____________________________ Background: There is a known genuine issue of this medal estimated about 1500 pieces. There are two reported “contemporary reproductions” of undocumented age (however one of these is reportedly manufactured by Ernst Blass). There are many known different copies of unknown age. There are at least four known current active production copies, two of which are regularly confused with the genuine type. The known in-depth published information about this medal is in only one publication (Alexander Laslo – The Interallied Victory Medals of WW1). There are no known other published detailed articles, however there are probably many briefer descriptions available in other books. Because of the few number of genuine pieces, and high foreign interest coupled with low local interest, most of them are probably now outside their original country Thailand. Even so, Thai dealers/collectors are secretive with knowledge about medals and foreign made copies of this medal are both manufactured locally and imported to sell locally to unsuspecting foreigners. There are at least one or two known copy examples currently made in Thailand. Even without this specific knowledge, there is a large cottage medal making and medal copying industry in Thailand (mainly Buddhist amulets and Rama V medals), and it would not be difficult for a dedicated and/or resourceful person to make these medals. Some of the Thai copies of other medals are so well made that major dealers and auction houses cannot distinguish they are copies. In the field of coins, very high quality organized copying of valuable machine-struck coins that are difficult to detect for even experts has been rampant for decades - although this has occurred in several places around the world, in modern times in China this is government supported, well funded, and an organized effort. (Here is a little on medal counterfeiting here: http://www.omsa.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=646 ) Current prices for known copies advertised as copies are around $30-50. Current prices for genuine pieces are between $1500 and $3000 depending on various factors. Laslo Reproductions 1 & 2 can regularly be found at $200-500 depending on various factors. Dubious pieces can routinely achieve now up to $600 (previously sometimes up to $800 and more). Dishonest sellers will often claim ignorance or portray obscure potential sources, probably to realize a higher price. Although most sellers are honest, some sellers often know the medals are copies when they sell them, some sellers don't care about authenticity, and some sellers just don't know. Current copies are often poor enough that an experienced collector can detect them with a sufficient amount of examination, however some copies are good enough that experienced collectors have difficulty to detect them without detailed comparison with a genuine specimen. My feeling is that the technology is simply available (or will be soon enough) to manufacture very excellent copies for a dedicated person that would be difficult to detect for any but an expert. Further, that there will be perhaps no experts available with the skill to detect these copies. Also, those that should be experts (major dealers & auction houses) do not always have the interest to make very difficult or thorough investigation on this. I also believe that at this time, there possibly exists a pool of knowledgeable collectors who have scattered specimens, scattered information, and scattered personal history available - which can be collected together to obtain a more complete picture. Much of this information however may ultimately be lost as the personal files get destroyed and as these specimens get transferred to the next generation where they will be spread amongst a larger and looser collecting community which will not be able to compare them together as might have been previously possible.
  2. Hi Rob, For such a rare and heavily faked medal, probably the prudent assumption would be that it is a fake until proven otherwise... I suppose that having marks is presumed to authenticate it - but that is not valid - it is a common method to try to add legitimacy to Thai fakes, and I suppose others. We already know of the modern fakes by Mike Shank in Virginia, USA with the use of the BRONZE and other makers marks. In Thailand, it is normal with supposed French-made but actually Thai made fake medals, to add BRONZE and French maker naming. It's not very difficult to have such counter-strike dies made, and anyone capable of making a fake medal should be capable of stamping them with whatever marks they want. In any case, I don't suppose there was ever a need to have this medal officially imported into the US, so what would be the reason to follow US regulations ? Also, typically on other French medals which have been exported elsewhere where this has been required, including Thailand, I see the source marks in French not English. So it sort of seems that strikes are incorrect already ? Do we have other examples where this was done ? It is clear from the casting it is a copy. So the question is can it be proven that it is an early copy ? Do we have known examples of this cast type that have been around, on the market or in people's collections along with verifiable providence that it is earlier ? Do we have any known example of this type appearing in any form in any location more than 20 years ago (pre-Laslo) ? There are a lot of old collectors around with these medals - we ought to be able to find some kind of early evidence. Perhaps some other members might have such an example with some believable history when and where they got it ? During the auction, I asked for further information on this medal, but the seller declined to provide any... Likewise, even though it was clearly a copy, and he was so informed that it was likely a modern fake, he neither made any mention of it being any type of copy and he continued to use a vague remark about its legitimacy. That is sort of an additional red flag about it also. Rgds, Dave
  3. A new type Thai fake here : http://gmic.co.uk/index.php/topic/49862-thaisiamese-victory-medals/page-2#entry537603
  4. A new type copy sold by mheskett on ebay ... http://www.indochinamedals.com/fim/images/2013_02_12_ebay_Fake_Siam_WWI_Victory_Medal.pdf
  5. This seller of #2 and #3 is gshank0121 the same as mcstls (aka Mike Shank from Virginia)
  6. Archer, The third person has received Commander grade of both the Order of the White Elephant, and the Order of the Crown. Plus the Red Cross medal - donating blood, a monetary donation, or service. Plus a nice medal respectful of the monarchy, or she might have attended the ceremony ? I suppose that a more petite person, might have a smaller bar as a better visual fit ? Perhaps with the fourth one, also they might have attended the ceremony ? (and didn't feel like wearing a whole ribbon bar set ?) With the fifth one, usually the grades of the Order of the White Elephant and the Order of the Crown are received as one is promoted, so I suppose this is a newer member - who also has some kind of para training ? A new recruit graduate ? Rgds, Dave
  7. Archer, My superficial perception is that anyone can wear the commemorative medal ribbons - i.e. they are not awarded. (But non-government people would not have a reason to do so, even though I think that some do buy them as royal souvenirs.) Noted is that none of these are the common awarded medals/orders. Typically one would see civil servants receiving the Order of the Crown and the Order of the White Elephant as awarded orders, in the 8 various grades, over their careers. Even when someone has received only one award, they sometimes wear a special ribbon bar with that ribbon only (a gold rectangular wide rim frame, having the ribbon extending above and below the frame). Even though he is well qualified, I suppose that he would not receive awarded medals during his education. So, maybe since he is new to civil service, he has not yet received the other orders ? Perhaps it is also a show of respect for the monarchy ? Perhaps the amount also fills out a nice amount of medals too (there are more commemorative medals that could be included also). Actually, you can buy these commemorative medals directly from the government, for example at the coins and medals pavilion of the museum of the royal palace in Bangkok. Whereas the awarded orders and medals cannot be bought from the government (only from the private suppliers), and they should be returned when the recipient elevates to a higher grade or passes away. I seem to remember seeing most formal civil servant uniforms with many of the commemorative medals, so likely it is a regular practice. I suppose that if you asked, that it would be common knowledge. (And now that it is brought up, I'll have to do that next chance I get ;-) Rgds, Dave P/S Did you find lots of interesting ODM during your trip to Cambodia and Vietnam (and now Thailand) ? It might make an interesting new thread ;-)
  8. Hi Pieter, It would be interesting to see a photo of the medal. Does it have any marking on the reverse ? Are you sure that the medal you have is the original medal from 1930 ? Or was that just the date of the award ? I suspect that the medal itself was not bestowed, only the certificate, then it would have been up to the recipient to purchase their medal. I would suppose that any medal could have been purchased later or in any case replaced. Can you confirm the date of the photos which show the later type being worn ? I would tend to have some faith in the Thai medal department, since they are the ones that have all the documentation and history I do have several Thai medals books from the past 50 years span, and I could take a look at if there is any change of info on that aspect (some time when I get a chance to get back to the books that is). I might also take another look at the information I have (i didn't translate it to compare all aspects, just had it read to me) - however, this is consistent with what I've heard from others. My collection of Thai Order of the Crown and Thai Order of the White Elephant is about 200 pieces each (I collect by manufacturer and date), and I've handled probably another similar amount, and I've not really seen strong evidence of such really-early current-type pieces, unless they are similar to current pieces (manufacturer variation excepted). I"m not saying that it's not possible, but just that I would expect a little more evidence and examples. My project for the coming year is to put together something on the different manufacturers and dates and other variations. Maybe that will highlight something. Rgds, Dave 1. Order of the Crown current type "Type 2" (early example) - 4th or 5th class manufactured by Sampanaporn in 2496 (96) = 1953 2. Order of the Crown early type "Type 1" - 3rd class 3. Order of the White Elephant current type "Type 2" - 3rd class manufactured by Thai Nakon in 2506 (1963) 4. Order of the White Elephant early type "Type 1" - 3rd class
  9. We ought to move this to a new thread, as the old thread was for photos of early Thai Order of the White Elephants Paul. My documentation from the Thai department of medals describes that the current design of both the Order of the Crown (OC) and Order of the White Elephant (OWE) was started in 2484 (1941). Often, the maker and date is stamped on the back of the suspension crown (usually) or pendant. Usually it is in Thai, but the numbers, almost always 2 digits but add 2500, can be read easily (see http://en.wikipedia....i/Thai_numerals), which gives the date in B.E. (subtract 543 yrs to get AD). That may also prove the point. But not all medals are dated. My earliest dated example of the current type OC is from 2496 (1953) or 2500 (1957). [96 -> i.e. 2496, might be 1996] I think I have I have some current-type miniatures reportedly from a German factory bombed out during WW2 (Zimmerman fire), so would be from the initial years, and they don't appear any different really from modern types. Overall, with both the OC and the OWE, there is significant quality variation between the private makers and later government manufacturers, so it's hard to use this as an indicator of age. Also, the medals are required to be returned when increasing in rank, and when passing on - these get refurbished and re-issued, which complicates dating somewhat. Except -> I saw one 3rd class example of the OWE manufactured by JW Benson, of the current type. Nice. [if you ever see one available, let me know ;-)] I have seen a couple groups with Thai OC or OWE which are the wrong period. I wonder if they are concoctions (assembled sets), or later replacements. This is mostly based on markings on the 4th and 5th class examples, as I've not seen early current-type examples of the higher classes. Note: It's not really type 2, but that's what they tend to call the current type, because the types before the so-called "type 1" are incredibly rare - so perhaps considered prototypes, etc. Rgds, Dave Examples: 1. 2500 in Thai (1957) [little hard to see the Thai "2" in the photo] 2. 07 in Thai = 2507 BE (1964) 3. 86 or 98 = 1986 or 1998 (I think there were a lot in 1986) 4. 36/1 = 2536 (1993), "/1" refers to the maker
  10. I think the suspension is correct, just the ribbon (cravet) is of course wrong. The lower suspension is correct for the OC, but the upper suspension (ribbon loop) is somewhat different. So maybe this is a sash badge, rather than commander class - if you look carefully on the back-side, the ribbon loop is a thin round tube, with one piece that fits inside the other and can be un-clipped - perhaps so it can clip on the sash ? I have two like this, and one has also a second small loop ring on the back left side of the medal pendant - maybe also for clipping ? The others I have all have "regular" ribbon loops. I also have one like this for the OWE (below), with the rest "regular".
  11. This last one is the Thai Order of the Crown (with a wrong cravet/ribbon)
  12. Mike Shank changed his ebay id from mcstls to gshank0121. Watch out for his fakes.
  13. Hi. This is the model from before 1941.
  14. Thanks for the photo ! Added to the site: http://www.indochinamedals.com/cambodia/cm02_national_order_of_independence.html
  15. Possible lower class of the National Order of Independence (1963, 1964) - badge/pendant only
  16. The National Independence Medal (current version established 1995)
  17. James, I've seen only a reference to a regulation, without the regulation number - so I couldn't find it so far to re-confirm. Rgds, Dave
  18. James, I would be interested to see any official booklets you mention. I am aware of one booklet which had a picture of the collar - however, of this I have only a copy of the cover and not the booklet... John Sylvester's "Orders and Medals of Cambodia and Laos" refers to the other classes. Neither John, Geoff, or any others I previously asked, report having seen the other classes. It may be that they were in the regulations, but never awarded or produced ? However, I do have an example of a potentially "local made" medal which could be a lower class of this medal - it is very similar to the collar version but much cruder. But, I have only the pendant... Rgds, Dave
  19. This is the Royal Order of Cambodia. Now it seems they have added a collar class, with Norodom Sihamoni as the sole recipient. For other examples see: http://www.indochinamedals.com/cambodia/cm01_royal_order_of_cambodia.html
  20. Leigh kitchen, This says something like King's security guard.
  21. Alexandre, Its been a while, but do you mean the National Order of Independence ? There was a collar given, and there existed a grand cross in the regulations, but no known awarding of the grand cross is known. Some more info here: www.indochinamedals.com/cambodia/cm02_national_order_of_independence.html Perhaps our Indonesia resident member can get a photo of an actual example (if the one given to President Soeharto in April 1968 is in the museum there ?)
  22. Chris, This is common in dug condition. It is really rare with an original ribbon (I've known of only 2 examples with an original ribbon, and replacement cannot be found now). See more info and examples here: www.indochinamedals.com/cambodia/cm31-36_medals_of_national_construction.html
  23. Chris, This is common, but with the ribbon less so, but still common. My info is here: www.indochinamedals.com/cambodia/cm25_faithful_service_order.html
  24. Chris, To plug my own site (again) There is more on it here: www.indochinamedals.com/laos/ls03_order_of_the_reign.html This ribbon is possible to come by, so if you didn't find a ribbon yet, they are commonly available on ebay France. You might also find something in the OMSA ribbon bank ?
  25. Chris, To plug my own site There is more on it here: www.indochinamedals.com/laos/ls05_order_of_civil_merit.html
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