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Purple Heart identification from serial numbers

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I've also posted this on the OMSA forum, but this seems to be more active. 

I have three Purple Hearts and would like help identifying the recipients:

1.  Purple Heart, slot brooch, numbered left side – 161632

2.  Purple Heart, slot brooch numbered right side – 594631

Purple Heart, wrap brooch numbered right side 460733

I also have other Purple Hearts, unnumbered, but assume they can not be identified.


I’ll be grateful for any help.


Hugh Tulloch

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Not a specialist in US medals but as far as I am aware there are only a few numbered Purple Hearts that have been identified with the name of recipients unless they are named or have associated paperwork. There are some General Orders with numbers listed but they represent only a very small percentage of all numbered Purple Hearts.

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I have a numbered Purple Heart #275375. Made by Rex Products Co 1942 with a lacquer enamel heart and slot brooch as per the Army contract Rex Products had which were numbered 100,000 to 400,000. So your numbered PH #161632 would I assume fall into this batch. I believe 60,000 of these were issued to the US Navy.

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Numbered purple hearts are near to impossible to match with a name.They were issued by numerous lower level military hospitals or units. Most of them didn't hold any records.

The only thing you can get from a number(range) is the manufacturer as stated by muckaroon1960.

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  • 2 months later...

According to Wikipedia approximately 1,910,162 Purple Hearts was awarded up to June 5, 2010. Add the intervening 9 years and my guess is that total shoots up to over or close to 2 000 000. 

From the other comments it seems there was several manufacturers over the years and if you add the chaos of Two World Wars when they were presumably manufactured by the thousands weekly, poor record keeping, the damage that time cause on paperwork and my opinion would be that you're very lucky to have three that is indeed numbered.


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