Discontinued Collectibles Guide

Medal Collectibles

Medal collecting

Medals probably owe their popularity as collectibles to a number of factors. For one thing they are small and therefore a collection can be displayed effectively without taking up an excessive amount of space. For another, they have been issued for a number of different purposes over many centuries. That great historical interest sets them apart from many other collectables and enhances the fascination of collecting them. The different reasons for which medals have been issued offer the collector plenty of scope for specialising in one or more particular categories of medal or medallion collectibles. Those who don’t wish to specialise have an enormous variety to choose from. Cataloguing such a collection must be very absorbing in itself!

When the subject of medals is first mentioned, most people’s first thought will be of military decorations. The practice of awarding medals of some kind for outstanding military service or simply to mark an individual’s participation in a particular campaign dates back to the time of Alexander the Great in the 4th Century BC.

However medals have long been awarded for outstanding achievements in other fields. Collectables would include medals for sporting achievements such as Olympic medals and Cup Winners’ Medals for members of the victorious football teams, in such competitions as the FA Cup.

Medals have also been issued by churches and other religious bodies to mark auspicious occasions and significant milestones in the religious lives of individuals. Both the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches in particular have been quite prolific issuers of medals and medallions to members of their congregations.

The use of devotional medals dates back to the Middle Ages and after the Reformation period, continued as before in those countries which remained predominantly Catholic. From the Reformation onwards, in Protestant dominated countries, the practice continued but the purpose of the medals became less devotional and more concerned with emphasising that the Protestant approach to Christianity was the right one. Being a relatively new idea it was probably considered important to state their case as emphatically as possible.

The Renaissance period also saw the rise of the Humanist movement all over Europe and its adherents too adopted the practice of exchanging medals. Princes and lesser aristocrats alike who had espoused the Humanist cause would send medals to Humanist writers and artists to show their support and to encourage them in their work.

In political life too medals were used as tokens of encouragement and to show appreciation for support. Kings, Emperors and other rulers used them in this way, in addition to the usual gifts of land and titles. In fact of course, if giving someone a medal helped to keep them "on side" as we might say nowadays, it would have been quite an economical method. After all, there is only so much land you can give away!

Those are just a few examples of the different types of medals that have been produced all through history and indeed continue to be used to this day. No doubt there are numerous others. The point is that with the passage of time all of them have become collectables and while many have acquired considerable value, others can be picked up by the observant collector at quite modest cost.

Military medals and awards are always of considerable interest, partly because in many cases there is a human story attached to an individual medal. Military memorabilia of all kinds forms a complete category of collectibles of which medals form a very significant part. It is much easier to collect medals than redundant tanks!

Anyone starting from scratch as a collector of medals might do well to consider choosing a particular category, say military, political, religious or sporting, in the first instance. If the decision is made to collect medals in general it would make sense to divide them into their respective categories right from the beginning. However you go about it, medals are some of the most interesting of collectables, especially when the stories behind them can be discovered.

On each of the pages within this section dedicated to Medals collectibles we have included links to live and current online auctions dealing in each theme. In addition, where known, we have added details of collector clubs, forums and websites. We wish you every success in tracking down the missing pieces of your discontinued Medals collection and hope you will become a regular visitor to Accumulations. Remember it’s an ever-changing scene so it is always worth a return visit!

If you are interested in a specific type or genre of Medals collectible, click on one of the following links:-

Military Medals

Please also check out the Medals Books, Related Dealers and Useful Resources listed on this page.

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