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    WWII star copies help

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    There are a lot of modern copies of the WWII stars on the market at the moment and I was wondering if any of you can give me some pointers on what to look out for on an original star.

    I can easily spot an average copy of the 1914/15 star but saw some WWII stars the other week and was very surprised to be told they weren?t original. They were better quality than those being issued by the medal office at the moment.


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    Guest Darrell


    There are a lot of modern copies of the WWII stars on the market at the moment and I was wondering if any of you can give me some pointers on what to look out for on an original star.

    I can easily spot an average copy of the 1914/15 star but saw some WWII stars the other week and was very surprised to be told they weren?t original. They were better quality than those being issued by the medal office at the moment.


    Here is an excellent article on what to look for in authenitic Air Crew Europe Stars:


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    That is a good article Darrell.

    I think I'll have to buy myself a good copy or two for my reference. The ones I saw in Brighton the other week were ?10 each, that was the only pointer towards them being copies for me.


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    One problem, and one no one has really been able to address, is that WWII stars and medals were made, in the 1940s and 1950s, by mints all over the world and were awarded, completely legitimately, to commonwealth personnel for their service in WWII. The quality of manufacture and the colour of metal used differed, as did the design. As most of these were unnamed, no one at the time worried much about what was "real" and what wasn't. In the interim, veterans who lost or sold or misplaced their medals just went to the military taoior and got replecements. In many cases, these replacements were worn as if they were the "originals", and in some cases they were better made than the originals had been. In no case was there an intent to defraud the collector (until recently, only the ACE or BofB clasp would have repaid that effort).

    I hate to say it, but most people haven't thought about cheating collectors on WWII medals until recently.

    But what is an "original" and what is a "copy" in this complex situation?

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    Good question Ed.

    I had my Grandad's medals issued about 7 years ago, they came from the official MoD medal office so although brand new, would they be classed as original or copies?

    The quality of the stars is very poor when comparing them to stars issued in the 40s and 50s, the medals are slightly better than the stars but still not as good as the "originals."


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    Hi Gents,

    Interesting discussion here - the point Tony made about his Grandad's medals may clear up a niggling issue I had with a Burma star. This was part of a large lot to an artillery captain (including tunic , beret, overcoat, books etc).

    Everything seemed correct bar the Burma star - I worried that this was a copy but it may have been a later reissue, as everything else in the lot was pukka. I guess (if you had enough time on your hands) one could try and trace the downwards trend in quality over time, similar to German 1957 awards?



    Edited by deptfordboy
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    Here are scans of some immediate post war issued medals (top) and my Grandad?s medals which were officially issued by the MoD in 1998 (bottom).

    The ribbon suspension bar on both later issue medals is too long and pokes out untidily, the official 1998 issue ribbon is narrower than immediate post war ribbon and the claw on the 1998 War Medal isn?t aligned correctly (lopsided).

    The reverse or the Stars is, well, cheaply done. Rough grinding and not given a smooth polished finish. The ribbon rings are oversized and not soldered.

    Please remember, these aren?t copies that have just been knocked up in a garage somewhere in Asia, they are official MoD issue awards that come with the ?Campaign Stars, Clasps and Medals? card, each award is in its own brown paper packet packed in a nice cardboard box (that wouldn?t look out of place at Ikea) but, they look as if they were knocked up in a garage before being posted to the MoD.

    Has anyone noticed anything I haven?t?


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    I think we all know the rings on late issue Stars were larger than the post war,but the Defence looks like its been hanging around some time with its patina.


    Hello John,

    It does doesn't it. If it wasn't for the ribbon suspension bar sticking out at the side you'd think it was almost 60 years old.


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    Guest Darrell

    On a related note ... my uncles Bar with three campaign stars / a Defense Medal / a War Medal and a Canadian Volunteer medal are in the possession of my parents. My mother told me a while back that they were going to get them brass / silver plated at a place where they do medal restorations !! :o:mad::shame:

    I couldn't believe what I heard ... I begged her NOT too ... I hope I changed her mind ... hell no-one besides me in the whole friggen family knows Jack about medals and they were going to do this???? !!! WTF were they going to do with them anyway? Hang them up on the Living Room Wall to help bring out the shine in the sunlight :violent:

    Makes you wonder about people doesn't it :wacky:

    Edited by Darrell
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    • 9 months later...

    [attachmentid=49789]Hi Folks,

    I did this little article recently and thought maybe it would be of help. Its a bit incomlete at a couple of places, for example i still need a list of countries that named their stars other than India.

    these are my personal studies having checked countless stars and spending many hours with a 10X lens.

    any additions/corrections and criticism welcome!

    attached under the post are pictures of a 100 percent genuine group demonstrating some variances in die varieties. Many times a die variety/variance has been considered a fake but now we know that all of this is not as easy as it looks .

    while there are many fakes around, they are mostly easily recognizable once you have carefully handled and observed an original. (as in most cases)

    British WW2 Stars

    Eight different types of stars were issued for the Second World War. Only a maximum of 5 could be earned by a person and if one qualified for further campaigns, clasps were issued for the extra campaigns with a maximum of one clasp awarded per star.

    So basically the star could be awarded alone and if the recipient qualified for a further campaign, certain clasps were awarded each to be attached to a particular star.

    Here are the types of stars awarded and the clasp that could have been awarded for each star.

    1. The 1939-45 Star could have the Battle of Britain clasp.

    2. The Air Crew Europe Star could have the Atlantic clasp OR the France and Germany Clasp

    3. The Atlantic Star could have the Air Crew Europe clasp OR the France and Germany Clasp

    4. The Pacific Star could have the Burma Clasp

    5. The Burma Star could have the Pacific Clasp

    6. The France and Germany star could have the Atlantic Clasp

    7. The Africa Star could have the North Africa 1942-43 OR 1st Army OR the 8th Army Clasp

    8. The Italy Star (no clasp designated to be attached to this one)

    So we have a total of 8 types of stars and 9 types of clasps. The Air Crew Europe star being the rarest and hence the most expensive and out of clasps , the Battle of Britain being the rarest and probably the most desired item out of all of the above.

    The ribbons for the above Stars are known to be designed by King George VI himself and each having some symbolic significance related to the campaign they were awarded for.

    A lot could be said about each star and for what they were awarded but that is beyond the scope of the little essay here.

    Most stars were issued unnamed. Many soldiers got their stars named on their own. There is a type of naming popularly known as ?Boots Naming?, the chain of stores that time had the idea to name medals for soldiers for a small fee and hence it is encountered every now and then. Some commonwealth countries issued the medals officially named for ex. India.

    Many stars are hence found named to Indians and then there are many in India that were not named. It is still not known clearly on what criterion were the stars named to some and not named to some but it?s obvious that getting a named star is always of interest as that has a story to tell. Some other commonwealth countries named their stars too. For Example : ________

    British Medals were manufactured by not only the Royal Mint but also in the Calcutta Mint in India. While the stars from the Royal Mint are easily recognized , many a times, the ones from the Calcutta Mint have been rejected as fakes but actually that is not so. Yes, there are fakes, in fact much more than there should be , but it is important to be able to recognize a fake from the original and not reject a Calcutta Mint original , just because it does not look like the one from the Royal Mint.

    Some differences between the Royal Mint and the Calcutta Mint issue Stars.

    The reasoning I know that a variance exists and that a star is ?probably? from the Calcutta Mint and not a downright fake is that I have encountered stars with variance in an officially named state, both as singles and in groups with no doubt about their provenance. If it were just unnamed stars, then there would always be an issue whether the star is an original or fake but because they have solid provenance and are officially named, one can deduce that the star is actually an original but from a different mint or quite simply from another die with some variance in die design.

    The following is from my experience and personal study and is always subject to change if I were to receive further information?

    First and most important, so far, I have only noted this variance in the 1939-45 Star and the Burma Star. Never on the Africa, Italy or the Pacific Star. Rest of the stars I will reserve judgement as my study was between stars manufactured in England and in India and since most if not all stars manufactured in India were issued to the Indian army, I have yet to see any examples of the Aircrew Europe, Atlantic or France and Germany Star to be able to make comparisons. It is always talked about in collector?s circles whether some Indians were awarded the stars mentioned but I have still to see an example which can be confirmed by solid?nay.. any provenance.

    1.Some original stars have been encountered with a raised more rounded central dome where it says GRI.

    2. Copper looking rings with silver solder have in fact been encountered on many original stars, believed to be manufactured in the Calcutta Mint. On first look , they look a bit rough, with lines running on them i.e. they are not smooth or well buffed.

    3. The finish could be of lesser quality than the Royal Mint variety, especially the matt finish on the background where it says ? The 1939-45 Star? . Many times the matt finish is bad and the surface is even partially smooth sometimes. Also details on the crown at the top of the star could be a bit blurry . One would normally reject a star considering these to be signs of a fake but even though a fake can display these signs, there is no way of judging by these signs whether the star is in fact a fake.

    4. The reverse the star has a round centre, with the rays of the star coming out from within the central circle. The original star most commonly encountered has a _/ shape between the rays at the central part ,while ORIGINALS also can have a simple V shape.

    5. Many stars encountered have a gold polish that does not look too good, but that too is not a sign of a downright fake.

    Ok , now that is done and having made it even more difficult to detect a fake, here is a short list of signs that will confirm that the star at hand is a DEFINITE fake (these signs have been noted down from actual fakes handled to complete this study).

    1. The V and I is not joined at the top on many fakes. This is the roman numeral for 6 and it is always joined horizontally at the top on originals.

    2. The crown on the original is nicely raised giving a 3-D effect but on many fakes ,it is quite flat and dull looking.

    3. The cushion on the crown at the background is many a times smooth on the fake ,while on the original, it has a coarse and dotted look.

    4. The centre of the crown has a two vertical lines with dots between them. On an original, you should easily be able to count four and a half dots (or five) but on many fakes, there are just 3 or 4 or any other number. .

    5. Original Medals do have a good finish and fakes will many a times not. The only reason some British WW2 stars may have a not quite good finish is because so many were manufactured that as the die wears out, some detail could be lost? but overall, one can expect a good finish.

    6. Originals have a uniform thickness and the example noted above as being from the Calcutta Mint that has a raised central dome is of uniform thickness too. The raised dome is the only difference and the arms etc of the star are all uniform like any other star.

    One pacific star was encountered which was quite thin overall and of coarse a down right fake.

    7. The arms of the stars are blunted at the ends on originals, but some fakes have been found with sharp ends .

    8. The edges of the original stars are quite interesting. Look at the edge of the star of any star that you have. They have a two toned finish. When the stars were manufactured, it seems that the edges were rough and they were smoothened in a second process . The edges of ALL original stars will be smooth and polished toward the obverse end of the star and a bit rough towards the reverse end of the star.

    As has been said many a time before, one can only become confident about such things with further study and with experience. The above has been written with a view to perhaps quicken the learning curve a bit and maybe, save some fingers from getting burnt.

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