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    My meagre collection of 19th century campaign medals from South America

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    Hi all:

    I sent some scans of my meagre collection of South American medals to another forum member and that got me to thinking I should post them here, too.

    As some of y'all know, I do enjoy studying the lesser traveled/studied paths in medals (as well as coins, my other passion), which explains my fascination with Albanian decorations. There are, however, other little studied areas that are no less deserving of closer scrutiny. One such area are the 19th century campaign medals from South America. There is precious little info on these quite often beautiful medals - the only book I have found so far is a reprint of an ANS monograph by Gillingham from the 1950's. These very beautiful medals often bely their tragic history. I have only four such medals in my collection, three from the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870) and one from the Pacific War/Nitrate Wars (1879-1884). I highly recommend visiting Ulysses Narciso Leal Costa's super detailed site about these two wars for more info at http://www.geocities.com/ulysses_leal/capa.html. It's the best source I have so far found in English on these wars.

    Onto the medals...

    First up is the Argentinian Escudo for the Assault on Curupaity 22 September 1866 in copper. The Escudo was worn in much the same fashion as the WW II German campaign shields on the upper arm sleeve. The decoration was established in 1875 to reward surviving participants of the brutal and unsuccessful attack on Curupaity and is 31 x 40 mm with two rings on reverse. The reverse is maker marked R. GRANDE GRAB?. This one has an award document to Soldato (trooper) Norberto Iba?ez dated 22 September 1875, the anniversary of the assault.

    Edited by Eric Schena
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    Here is the Brazilian Cross for Paraguay 1868-1870. It is a small (25 mm across) copper cross with silver service bar. The service bar does not have a numeral on it (as it should), but I don't see any trace of one having ever been on this. The ribbon, by the way, is reversed - the dark green stripe should be on the left side.

    Edited by Eric Schena
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    Last but not least is a campaign cross for the Pacific War, also known as the Nitrate War. This was a war fought over nitrate mining rights on the then-disputed Chilean-Bolivian frontiers. This is the Cross for the Lima Campaign 1880-1881, the silver cross for soldiers, with two campaign bars, CHORILLOS (13 January 1881) and MIRAFLORES (15 January 1881). This also comes with the original case and brooch pin. The decoration is very high in quality, however, the blue enamel is very fragile and rarely comes intact.

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    • 11 months later...

    Great collection: should you ever feel the need to divest yourself...

    This little copper piece is a battle medal for the battle of yaytay-fought in the late summer of 1865. Missing its blue and white striped ribbon, it was awarded to Uruguayan troops that Fall and was worn on the battlefields in 1866-69. Uruguay's' contingent in the Triple Alliance was small but ferocious and even legendary, the Uruguayan legion being comprised of gauchos and other international condittori. By 1868, the Uruguayan legion had suffered almost 150% casualties (statistically) and was recruiting Paraguayan POWs to fill the ranks. By the end of the war, fewer than 100 Uruguayans were in the legions' battalion(s), which comprised @ 1000 soldiers.

    Edited by Ulsterman
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    • 3 years later...

    This is a great collection.

    I have started my own on decoration patches awarded during the Independence war. As this is very rear to get originals as they were embroidered on fabric, I've decided to start producing historic replicas.

    Some of them are very interesting because they were awarded by the men of the British and Irish Legions who served in Bolivar's Army, like the one for the Peruvian Campaign in 1823-24 (The Junin and Ayacuho battles)

    You can see the images at http;//www.regimientosdeamerica.com/catalogo/ in the "patches/escudos" section

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    • 3 weeks later...

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