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Fake or Copy?

 

Illustrated below is a US Navy Good Conduct Medal that I found in an estate. It is in mint condition and looks too good to be true. This medal is the rare first round medal version issued from 1880-1884. The size of this medal is an unusual 40mm in diameter which is an important red flag. Every other Navy Good Conduct I have seen is 32-33mm in size. My medal books don’t mention size when describing these medals so I posted this item on the US Militaria Forum site which is a site everyone reading this blog should visit. http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ . There I was quickly informed that the 40mm version is a “Collectors Copy” which got me to think that now would be a good time to discuss terminology. The terms Fake, Jewelers copy and collector copy as I see it should be defined as follows. Fake; an exact copy made to fool collectors with fraudulent intent. Collectors Copy; an inexact copy made for collectors to use as a space filler but with enough differences that knowledgable persons can tell the difference, in this case the wrong size. Jewelers Copy; these are usually exact copies made by authorized manufacturers and only sold as wearing or replacement copies which originally could only be sold to people who had earned the right to wear them. This is very common in the German issues especially in the higher orders and decorations. Jewelers copies are usually easy to spot due to lower material and workmanship quality.

About Fred Borgmann

Retired from KP after nearly 31 years as new issues editor and the Standard Catalogs.
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