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The value of decorations and medals

How valuable a medal is usually depends on how rarely it has been awarded. But there are many more factors. We explain what you should look out for in medals and badges.

First inventory of medals and decorations

If you have come into possession of medals or decorations, you should ask a few questions in advance to get a first impression of the former owner and his treasures.

  • Did the collector buy them from military traders or auction houses or were they lent to him himself?
  • Do you still have the corresponding award certificates, ribbons or cases?
  • Was the former owner a member of a collectors' association or even a trader himself?
  • Did he own any specialist literature on the subject of orders and militaria?

The more questions you can answer with "yes", the more likely it is that more valuable pieces are in your possession. Nevertheless, you should not have exuberant expectations for the time being, because there are many good imitations and replicas in circulation. Only experts with many years of experience can usually tell the difference.

The following examples will show you what the value of medals and decorations can be.

Deceptively real: Beware of imitations

Fälschung Russland St. Andreas Orden
This extremely rare Order of St. Andrew from the Russian Tsarist Empire is a fake.

As long as there are collectors, there will also be forgers. It is no different with medals and decorations. Especially in the high-priced segment, there are forgeries that are very difficult to differentiate from the original. This requires extensive knowledge about the award, a lot of experience and a trained eye.
Replicas and forgeries naturally have little or no value.

A matter of class: The Iron Cross

Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse
Left: Iron Cross II. Class from 1813; Right: Iron Cross I. Class from 1914

A popular collector's item is the Iron Cross, an order of merit originally established in 1813 by Prussian King Frederick William III on the occasion of the Napoleonic Wars of Liberation. It was the first European war merit order that was also awarded to ordinary soldiers for military bravery. In subsequent wars, including the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), the First World War (1914-18) and the Second World War (1939-45), the Iron Cross was repeatedly reissued. Therefore, there are numerous pieces with different dates of endowment and classifications. Basically, the rarer the cross was awarded, the more valuable it is. The price can vary between 60 euros for an Iron Cross II. Class from the Second World War and five-figure amounts for particularly exclusive pieces, such as an EK I. Class from 1813.

From the Rarities Cabinet: Particularly scarce Pieces

Seltener Bayerischer Militär Verdienst Orden
Bavarian ARMY SERVICE ORDER (M.V.O.) I. Class with swords (approx. 18,000 Euro)

As already mentioned, the rarity of a decoration plays a major role. There are medals, usually of particularly noble workmanship, that were only issued in single-digit amounts, sometimes even only once. If you own such a piece or inherit it, you have of course hit the jackpot. When selling, it is now a question of finding the right buyer for such a treasure. We will be happy to advise you and bring you together with buyers from all over the world in our international auctions.

Who does it belong to? Documents provide information

Orden Verleihungsurkunde
Award certificate for a medal

Not only medals have a certain value. In the case of rare examples, a deed of ownership can quickly fetch as much money as the medal itself. Especially if they are well-known personalities of the time. So it is best to have everything together: The medal in its case, the award certificate and, if applicable, ribbons or other associated items such as daggers, sabres, etc.

The World War Cross of Honour

Weltkriegsehrenkreuz mit Schwertern
Front and back of a World War Cross of Honour with swords (approx. 10 Euro)

The Cross of Honour of the World War was an award from the National Socialist era for participants and dependants of participants in the First World War. It was donated on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the war by the then Reich President Paul von Hindenburg and was issued around 10 million times until 1945. The high number of awards shows that it is not really a rare item. The World War Cross of Honour (Front Fighter) fetches around 10 euros among collectors.

Appreciation: Have medals and decorations valued

Do you have medals, decorations or certificates that you would like to sell? Our experts for medals and decorations recognise the value of your medals and can undoubtedly distinguish an original from a fake. Let our experts advise you without obligation in order to achieve an optimal selling price.

Get in touch with us.

Regina Stocks

Secretariat and Reception
Phone:+49 (0)211 550 440
Fax:+49 (0)211 550 4411

Language: German, English

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