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Repairing medals and ribbons


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Hello. I would like to consult the honorable members of the forum. 

Earlier this year I aquired the set of miniature medals to Cpl. S. Maunder. As you see from the pictures, the ribbons are very worn, and the star's ribbon is torn to pieces. I also aquired some proper silk ribbons. So should I fix the star? Or all four maybe?

Otherwise, what is acceptable practice in the case is a medal comes completely without a ribbon? Can I replace it f.ex with contemporary old ribbon from another medal and call this repaired medal original? You see, how far can I go before we say it is tampering with the object?

Cheers! 

Igor

 

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It all depends, with British medal collectors, there seems to be less of a problem with replacing medal ribbons with either "New" or contemporary medal ribbons, here new means as close to the original as possible, silk as opposed to new man-made fibres etc, I for one would obviously like to have medals with original pieces they came with, the problem here is what is meant by " Original"! does that mean the ribbon it was awarded with, the one that it was worn with or even the case of a replacement ribbon by the recipient? bearing in mind that during earlier periods medals were frequently worn and may well have had their ribbons replaced several times by the wearer themselves, European medal collectors I've found feel that it has to be either the "Original" or if that is not available, better, no ribbon, (I'm expecting to get shot down here!!),my opinion is that if it was awarded with one then it is incomplete without one, In the case of your very nice example, if they are intended for display, I would replace all of them, if kept away and hidden leave them as they are. I do replace ribbons but always keep the original if they are there, stored safely away, this gives me the option that if I ever want to dispose of a group, the ribbons they came with can be offered at the same time to a prospective buyer, interested to here other comments.

 

regards

 

Alex K

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Thanks, Alex, for sharing your view.

For me medals as objects are interesting through the story of the owner and owners personality acting in historical events. In the cases when the owner is unknown (really most cases for me so far) it is the historical event medals represent, that is the focus, not the medal it self.  For me anyway.

So therefore, with my perspective, it is OK to swap the ribbon to an other one that is as close as possible to the original one. But I would not want to deviate too far from the mainstream view on this either.

But agree, keeping the old  worn original one maybe helpful if one day the new owner finds it fancy.

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I tend to agree with Alex and when I still had the cash to buy medals would at times replace ribbons for display but always kept the old 'originals' safely stored for just such eventuallities as he described.  But it is, as he says, a bone of some contention among collectors and partly informed by why one collects: if its ALL about the 'history' then original ribbons might be preferred but then what does one do with those which arrive ribbonless?  Clearly that is a [small] part of their history and the least important part.  So, if it's ok to replace missing ribbons, why note replace worn ones too?  I tend to do that but keep the originals as a bow to tose of the other viewpoint.

A topic which bears re-examining periodically!  Thanks for the question.

Peter

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  • 7 months later...

I also agree with the other posters. From time to time, I acquire groups or singles where the ribbons are in relic condition, or absent. In either case, I tend to replace with original lengths of ribbon (it is quite common to encounter First World War trios with original lengths of ribbon in their issued packets), and see nothing impure about utilising original resources where available. I also take the precaution of preserving the ribbons they came with, for precisely the reason stated above. 

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Well, I feel that I am just doing little except agreeing with all of the above, but here goes any way.  I speak of British and therefore Canadian,  Replacing ribbons is a matter of personal chioce, of course.  However I would never replace one out of a group without replacing (and preserving) the balance of the group.  A vet woud never, in my opinion, wear a group with one new and three or four original ribbons. I believe there are ribbons available made of the same material as the originals and I think they are worth the extra money.  I have several groups in the collection with quite soiled and worn ribbons that will stay that way.  I do not see this as disrespect but rather true respect for the original recipient. 

Now a story about a group of WWII medals that belonged to my father, and are now in my care.  Originally they came in the medal box along with a piece of ribbon.  My father decided he wanted them mounted for wear and had them swing mounted.  After a number of decades he decided the fashion at the local Legion was to have them court mounted, which he did.  So the medals never had the original ribbons on the medals themselves and were then mounted and remounted using new ribbons each time.  I see no problem with this, especially when they were his medals.  The good news is that Dad kept the original boxes which contain the original ribbons, packing paper, small envelope, a note of award and in the case of the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal a small silver maple leaf (showing overseas service) for the ribbon bar. 

Good topic and one I agree needs revisiting from time to time.

Regards

Brian

 

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  • 3 years later...
On 08/09/2016 at 11:26, Egorka said:

Hello. I would like to consult the honorable members of the forum. 

Earlier this year I aquired the set of miniature medals to Cpl. S. Maunder. As you see from the pictures, the ribbons are very worn, and the star's ribbon is torn to pieces. I also aquired some proper silk ribbons. So should I fix the star? Or all four maybe?

Otherwise, what is acceptable practice in the case is a medal comes completely without a ribbon? Can I replace it f.ex with contemporary old ribbon from another medal and call this repaired medal original? You see, how far can I go before we say it is tampering with the object?

Cheers! 

Igor

 

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Hello, John, and welcome to the GMIC!

 

If you read the posts above, including one by me, you'll see that most of us seem to feel that replacement is o.k., to create something which looks good in display.  However, keep the old ribbons safe if you do this, so you can always say 'with original ribbons' if you sell or even catalogue them.

 

A serving soldier would have replced the ribbons on his medals as they got worn or dirty - or risk the wrath of his Sergeant Major - and when I wear WWI uniforms for historical events I wear reproductions that look as the originals did 100 years ago, not as they no look in museum cases or attics: faded, torn and spoiled.  

 

However, in the end, it's a personal decision.  Again, welcoem, and good luck with your collecting.

 

Peter

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  • 4 months later...

Hi John

 

I tend to agree with comments listed above

 

I have my grandfathers WW1 Trio as well my fathers WW2 medals and know that the ribbons have been replaced several times by them due to they always wanted them to look pristine as over time they faded or just had some slight wear and tear, but I feel that new ribbons never detracted from them both proudly wearing them on memorial services.

 

in my collection I have at times have needed to replace ribbons especially on trios as I like to court mount my trios (again a personal choice which it self is a different debate) due to one or more of the ribbons have been badly damaged or missing. Often I buy medals with no ribbon, so I replace them with good quality ribbons

 

like many others I have a box or original or possible original ribbons placed in medal envelopes marked from the where they came from so if required when of if I go to selling them  I can offer them as part of sale

 

again I feel that it comes down to the individual on how they wish to maintain the ribbons on medals they collect in a manner that makes them happy and allows them to enjoy their hobby

 

C

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