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    Old Contemptible
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    About IrishGunner

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      Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, USA
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      Artillery of the First World War

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    1. Agreed; not Polish. But we've discussed this pattern of collar insignia on GMIC before; I am certain Central or Eastern European.
    2. Definitely, Polish. The abbreviation "Miedz. Ofic. Zaw." does not come to mind quickly, but "Konne" means "horse." The pennant is a traditional pennon color representing Cavalry during the 1920s-1939. My guess some kind of award for a cavalry horse competition.
    3. It does look like a WWI Minenwerfer, but those upright cylinders on the base plate are not familiar. So, I can't guess it's type/model or country of origin. Certainly does not look like any German or Austrian mortar I've seen. It does look to be about 38cm. German WW2 Nebelwerfer were 28cm for high explosive rockets, but those were usually mounted in multiple tubes. So, I suppose it is possible this is a single rocket launcher. It would be useful to see all the info on the display card for more clues.
    4. I actually just returned a medal to the man's family last month. I had the medal in my collection for over 13 years. It was a very valued piece in my collection - even written about extensively here on GMIC. And of course, as mentioned is possible, various members of the family while researching their ancestor, found the info on GMIC and contacted me through the forum. The first time was over 10 years ago. The first two family members shared info about the man and in closing always wrote, "If you ever choose to part with the medal..." Ten years ago, I felt as many here have stated; at some point, someone in the family, parted with the medal - for whatever reason - and I felt no obligation to return the medal. Especially after I found from the research of the man/medal, that it was a quite valuable collectible and worth considerably more than what I had paid. I even at one point was contacted by an author who was including the man in a book he was writing - and later published - and he wanted to obtain the medal. I declined. For the next ten years or so, I had no contact from anyone regarding the medal. Then in January, the man's great granddaughter contacted me via email. She related how her father and other family members had visited the man's grave at Sanders Keep for the 100th anniversary of his death in 1918 and how it had been an emotional experience for her father (the man's grandson). She wanted to know if I'd consider selling her the medal so she could give it to her father. My first thought was as it had been in the past; I did not want to sell the medal. But after pondering it a bit, I realized that it was just sitting in my drawer. Yes, I prized it - it had even continued to increase in monetary value over the past 10 years - but was I really "enjoying" it being in my collection? I truly enjoyed all the research I did on the man/medal/unit in the first years I owned the medal. But my collecting focus and research (and even interest in the hobby) has moved on and in different directions. The medal was just sitting in a drawer. So, I decided to sell - I didn't feel right quoting a price - I asked the woman to offer what she thought was fair and if I thought it was fair, I'd sell it to her. She made an almost spot on offer of what I thought was the fair market value of the medal. So, I sold it to her. The bottom line, you have no obligation; there are several factors to consider and you have to do what is right for yourself as a collector. If you "value" the emotional satisfaction of gifting it to the family. Then do it. If you want to sell the item as a collectible with a negotiated price. Then do it. In the end for me, I decided that the medal was just sitting in a drawer; it no longer was a focus of research; it wasn't in my primary field of interest (that is it wasn't artillery). I was offered a fair price. I figure, I can turn that money into another "prized" piece - probably artillery related. Even if I sold it to another collector, there is no guarantee it would not "just sit in a drawer." So, if the family enjoys it for a short time and puts it in a drawer. That's their business. To me, it became a transaction like any other with just as if it were with another collector. And just maybe, the family will treasure the medal - and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I at least sold it to someone who might treasure the medal as much as I did when I owned it...
    5. The idea that this is a "second row" in an interesting thought... There is no way to be sure of any theory. But I think we can now be reasonably sure this is a Belgian bar...
    6. I hadn't thought of why no Victory Medal. Good point... Stuka, why do you think the Congo Service Star?
    7. That is a guess I looked as well. That would make the bar appearing in correct order as in left to right of the photo. A Belgian who received the French and British medals. But the "combatant" part confused me a bit because I thought that the British War Medal was awarded only to Belgian civilians, not combatants. Unless of course, the Belgian Volunteer Combatatants Medal was also issued to civilians in some cases... A possibility as that was awarded to ambulance drivers and red cross. Would mean that the person got around to both fronts. But I'm starting to lean in the Belgian direction as suggested by SOG.
    8. I am posting this one here because despite the order in the photo, I believe the British War Medal is in the senior spot of precedence. This is an odd combination to my eye. If we go left to right (again reverse the photo order): British War Medal, French War Commemorative Medal, Belgian War Commemorative Medal, and...a blue ribbon of an unknown medal. So, does this bar make sense? What could the blue ribbon represent? My first thought was maybe a Red Cross volunteer or an ambulance driver. If British, however, wouldn't this have the British Red Cross Society medal (a white ribbon)? The American Red Cross has a blue ribbon medal, but were Americans awarded the British War Medal? I can see an American receiving the French and Belgian medals, but I don't see that happening with the British medal in my opinion. Or is this just a fantasy piece?
    9. Here is a photo with more clarity. And one from Fort du Camp des Romains, one of the French forts besieged at the start of the war by the Germans and supported by the Austrian siege mortars (it wasn't only the Belgian forts). This photo shows German (possibly Bavarian) troops mixed in with the Austrians.
    10. It is the Škoda 30.5 cm Mörser M.11 There were 2 later variants, but this looks like the original 1911 model.
    11. As a kid, I was a coin collector. That continued into my young adulthood. While posted to Berlin in the early 1980s, my wife and I would often visit the flea markets and I would pick up a few coins on every trip. One day I purchased a Hindenburg cross and and 1870/71 medal. At the time, I had no idea what they were, but thought they would be good souvenirs of time spent in Berlin. As we traveled around Europe, I gradually found it more interesting to pick up an old military medal at flea markets as a souvenir of visiting different countries rather than coins. Slowly this grew to deliberate searches for particular medals. Gradually, I found myself buying fewer and fewer coins and more and more medals. The rest is history (or an obsession).
    12. My wife is looking to make a bread pudding from a leftover Italian Christmas Panetone.
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