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Hi Gents,

Following on from the last post above - today I visited a dealer in Cheltenham and looked through his albums of British WW1 vics. He has some 25 issued to Indian recipients, and I could pick them out in the albums from the difference in colour from the ones to British recipients. In nearly all cases there was no trace of gilding - one had small areas of gilding on the obverse and one was clearly gilded as the standard British issue - and one definitely showed reduced detail on the obverse, maybe from diligent polishing.

So the question remains - were they made differently by the Calcutta Mint, or were they overly polished (by everyone), or was there some effect from the climate that acted on the gilding?

Bill

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Hi Gents,

Another thought occurs - if the dies were sent out from England for the vics to be struck in the Calcutta Mint, maybe a slightly different alloy was produce in India, hence the difference in finish?

Bill

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Bill,

You may well by right, another possibility it that many of the Indian Victory medals were purchased en-mass from Indian scrap dealers, there are tales, certainly before the export laws in India toughened up of them being purchased by dealers for a fraction over the scrap by the hundred weight, same is the case with Memorial plaques and Stars. The BWMs were always a bit more pricey as they ended up with the silver dealers (if only I could get a time machine and go to India in the 1960s the treasures that were available)

Paul

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Hi Gents,

Another thought occurs - if the dies were sent out from England for the vics to be struck in the Calcutta Mint, maybe a slightly different alloy was produce in India, hence the difference in finish?

Bill

Hi Bill

I agree with you, it is very likely that the type of metal has lower quality, but as has been said. certainly we can not confirm.

Lambert

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Hi Gents,

Maybe my comment above about 'some effect of the climate' may not be too far off the mark. On the 1914-1918.invasionzone forum -

"Normal" gilt finished Victories if polished,or the Finish cleaned off & stored in damp conditions will over time accquire the Brown Rusty finish that has led to this abberation, thus many such Brown finish victories arrive from the Indian sub continent,where such conditions favour this deterioration & resultant discolouring.

The poster was referring to the chocolate-brown finish of the Type 1 British vic, but there is the soldered suspension that also points to the Type 1. In any case, the Indian examples I've seen aren't 'rusty brown' but dull, non-gilt finish.

Bill

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Gents,

Pursuing my obsession with Indian Army vics – I bought one and compared it with the standard vic to a British recipient – British on the left:

indvic03-crop_zps82ded052.jpg

Obverse …

indvic04-crop_zps179a4513.jpg

… and reverse.

The colour difference is striking, and matches what I have seen – the British recipients’ vics most often have most or all of their gilding, while the ones to Indian Army recipients most often have lost all or nearly all. To be sure, there are examples of British ones that have lost all the gilding and look similar to the Indian, and Indian ones that have gilding, but it has been striking how I have been able to tell the Indian ones just by their colour, either on web sites or in seeing dealers’ stock in the flesh.

I checked measurements to see if there was any difference:

Weight in both cases was 29 grammes – my scales only show whole grammes.

Diameter in both cases 3.64cm

Thickness – measured at the 7 o’clock – the British vic was 3.5mm, while the Indian was 3.2mm. So, there probably was a weight difference, but my scales aren’t sensitive enough to show it.

indvic013-crop_zps2bc361ed.jpg

This picture of the edges does seem to show that the lower, Indian vic is slightly thinner than the British. Also of note is the form of the lettering, which seems to me to be identical on both. I understand that Indian Army vics were made and lettered at the Calcutta Mint. Northeast Medals web site has a thread on naming of WW1 medals http://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/britishguide/ww1_victory_medal.htm and my two seem to conform to the first example shown – lightly impressed. There has been discussion on the Great War Forum about naming of WW1 medals - http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=17269&hl=+calcutta%20+naming#entry133154 and http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=35290&hl=+calcutta%20+naming#entry285515 These discussions seem to indicate that vics to British recipients were in some cases named at the Calcutta Mint while the BWM to the same recipient was named in England. This brings up the mental picture of boxes of medals being ferried between England and India, and someone trying to match up the vic and BWM for an individual when they all get back to England! However, my two may lend credence to this idea.

The Indian vic obverse shows less detail than the British example – Victory’s face has no features, and the palm branch is almost smooth. This could be due to polishing by the Indian recipient, or by worn dies at the Calcutta mint. A comparison of the initials of the designer – WMcM – shows that they are almost gone from the Indian vic:

indvic012-crop_zpsa9cf43a8.jpg

The British …

indvic09-crop_zpsf5f526fc.jpg

… and the Indian. Polishing or dies?

The reverse of the Indian example does not show any reduction in detail, but there are some tiny remains of gilding:

indvic04-crop-crop_zps9bd24379.jpg

Just a trace in the bottom of the leaves in the wreath at the 3 o'clock, and around the N. The gilding has otherwise completely gone, even around the barrel suspension and in the little recesses under it, which would be difficult to achieve by polishing.

So, that’s my thoughts on this example of the Indian Army vic- any comments welcome.

Bill

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Hello Bill,

Interesting points you make regarding these Indian vics.

I think the condition of the Indian vic is a combination of all the elements that you have mentioned:

* possibly worn dies.

* medallic composition and reaction to local humid conditions.

* a propensity for the wearer to polish the medal.

* the vagaries of time and general wear.

It does appear that the naming styles seen on Indian vics is consistent. The specific details on this naming style are contained in Howard Williamson's wonderfully illustrated book 'The Great War Medal Collectors Companion', 2011.

Regards,
Rob

Edited by RobW
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Hi Bilco / Rob

This type of wear to the gilding is common as has been said.
I have this example of my Vic "Canadian", note the darker bronze and gilding fell in several areas ... But of course, the Indian example, as stated, has undergone a major change in the finish, detail and metal used.

post-11061-0-93627500-1373397420.jpg

post-11061-0-09541600-1373397433.jpg

Regards

Lambert

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Indian divisions sent to France in 1914 has Indian Divisional Ammunition Columns attached. The 1st (Sialkot) Cavalry Division, for example, had "I Indian RHA Brigade Ammunition Column" as one of its support units, the 2nd Cavalry Div. the "II Indian RHA Brigade Ammunition Column" and the Lahore Division the "Lahore Divisional Ammunition Column". So, I'd argue pretty strongly that Rick has the right of it here. ;)

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I saw a British Vic Medal to an Indian Halvidar in an antique shop this weekend, but was concerned that it felt "lighter" than other Brit Vic's in my collection. It didn't have a nice "heft" and seemed detail seemed "thin" on the obverse side. Were Vic's to the Indian Army made differently than others?

Also, the unit was engraved I.G.A - I thought this might be Indian Garrison Artillery, but when checking unit abbrev's on the UK Archives site, no such abbrev was listed.

Any thoughts from the Vic Medal experts?

(cross posted from UK forum)

So, I'm finally getting around to scanning and posting this Indian Vic that I mentioned a year and half ago...

On the rim: 199 HAVR DEOKARAN SINGH, I.C.A.

I first thought it was I.G.A. but from the scans, you can see it's a "C" not a "G". Indian Coastal Artillery?

I did a search on UK Archives; no MIC comes up... (contrary to what I posted a year and a half ago...I was mistaken on the name). So, what unit?

It isn't the strongest of details. That's the way it looks (not the scan); it looks "shabby" next to my 40th Pathans Vic. Any comments?

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Hi Rick,

It's interesting that the edge of the planchet still shows the bright finish, while the obverse and reverse are so dull. My Indian Army vic is uniformly dull overall, including the underside of the suspension! The cause is variously attributed to the poor finish of Calcutta Mint versions, or the effects of the Indian climate, though polishing may play a part.

Bill

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Hi Gents,

The gold coloured edge could also be a result of the light under which it was photographed. There's a direct comparison of my Indian Army example with a 'normal' finish in post # 32 on this thread. There's a definite gold-ish tinge which isn't there 'in hand'

Bill

Edited by Bilco
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  • 1 month later...

Interestingly I have two 14-15 Stars to the Ind Tel Dept and 2 afghan NWFs 1919 one to Ind Tel Dept. the other Tel. Dept. (all awarded to Indians).Paul

Very nice, but different units to The Indo-European Telegraph Dept. I have a pair to a R. Wilcock and his MIC says he was a signaller and later a Sargeant. I wish I knew more as the line, which ran through Persia, was shut down soon after the war started.

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