21 October 2011
Medal prices to make you weep
I've just returned from a short business trip to Colwyn Bay. When I travel, I like to sniff out the local secondhand and antiquarian booksellers and, if I'm able to, pick up a book as a memory of that trip. I found a nice volume on Indian Regiments on a trip to Canterbury the other week, and yesterday visited the Bay Bookshop and came away with a second edition of E C Joslin's Standard Catalogue of British Orders Decorations and Medals (1972). I recommend the shop if you happen to be in Colwyn Bay; nice people to chat with and a great military section.
You know that Joslin is going to be a depressing read when you read in his foreword, that "... we have experienced some remarkable figures at auction such as £3,500 for a fairly ordinary VC...". What would he have thought of the Ted Kenna VC sale I wonder.
Anyway, back in 1972 your silver Queen's Sudan Medal would have been valued at £8 and a Khedive's Sudan medal at anything between £7 and £22. Prices for medals with multiple clasps are not given. These days you'd be lucky to get away with spending less than £500 on a Queen's Sudan and Khedive's Sudan. As for the First World war medals, £2 might have got you a 'bare-arsed' 1914 Star, but you'd have had to pay double that for the same medal with the Mons clasp.
I'm on the look-out now for the first (1969) edition of this book, plus subsequent editions. I still rue the day, back in the days when I did not collect medals, that I sold a 1914 Star trio in my local market for £12. Then again, that was some years ago and looking at Joslin's valuations, it probably wasn't such a bad deal (although that's one sale that I do regret).