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Wessel Gordon

Honoris Crux 1952

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I just ran into something interesting on an auction site regarding the above medal.

The medal (according to the seller) is numbered 43 and yet according to all the sources I could find definitively states that only 5 were ever awarded. The ribbon is the green, red and white of the 1952 decoration and the suspender also matches the 1952 decoration perfectly. I double-checked the 4 classes of the 1975 decoration thinking that maybe it's a 1975 medal on a 1952 ribbon but none of the 1975's four classes resembles the item for sale.

Any ideas on this mystery?

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Could it be that many more were made than issued and this is an unissued specimen or  government stock

Paul 

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Paul,

That could be but the question then is why manufacture 6 times the number of medals issued in a 23 year period. Then again the government could have manufactured a certain number especially aimed at the collector's market.

The asking price of R 25 000 (roughly 1 400 British Pounds or $ 1 770) definitely points to it being an original or else someone is taking a fat chance.

 

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 Having been involved in a private commemorative medal project i discovered that it is almost as cheap to produce 500 as it is to produce 20. 95% of the cost is designing and productipn of the dies Presumably they did not know how many would be awarded over the years as clairvoyance was not their strong point and so over ordered in a major way. 

I suspect mint records could clarify this

Paul

 

 

 

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Paul, 

Thanks for the reply.

Afterwards I did some further reading and realized that the 5 that was awarded was for actions over a two year period only (1973/1974). The only higher decoration for bravery in that period, Louw Wepener Decoration, had only 7 recipients over a period of 13 years (1961-1974) so it seems either our military didn't take too many foolhardy risks or the officers authorizing these awards put them under severe scrutiny before awarding either the Honoris Crux (1952) or the Louw Wepener Decoration

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Gordon, Thanks for your reply,

The ZAR very much kept the British model for Gallantry awards. That is extremely sparing, to get anything you had to go to Hell and back on many occasions. The ZAR feared foreign intervention against the regime as a result their armed forces were by far the most advanced in Africa and compared favourably with many of the more developed western European forces. It is likely that atheir preparedness extended to their honours system.

Paul

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I can't comment on the award criteria and/or frequency of awards, though I suspect that Paul is correct. 

OTOH, I have been involved in the fringes of several projects aimed at producing commemorative medals and awards and I can testify that Paul is right about the cost: 90% plus is in the original dies, etc and it might very well be the case that having 50 run off would be far cheaper than doing 10 now and 10 in a decade or two.  And, unawarded pieces do seem to trickle or leak onto the market, presumably from unofficial sources who take the view that 'Nobody will notice.' or 'Why waste them?'  Not sure what that does to values. :(

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