When collecting National Guard regimental medals, which were usually privately funded, you will run across some real works of art. One of my all time favorites is this long service medal of the Illinois National Guard First Cavalry. This spectacular gold medal is 43mm wide and 57mm tall. The core is cross and wreath shaped with a horse head mounted on the top arm. The ribbon across the top is inscribed “1ST CAVALRY ILL. N.G.” The center disc is mounted on the cross and features the Illinois State Arms within the legend “SERVICE HONEST AND FAITHFUL.”
The reverse has a suspension ring and is hallmarked “WRIGHT & STREET // CHICAGO // SOLID GOLD” at the bottom in 3 lines.
I bought this from my late friend, dealer and author, Jeffrey R. Jacob back in the 1980’s. He didn’t know anything more about it then and I still don’t know what kind of ribbon and brooch this medal originally had or how many years of service it took to earn this beautiful decoration. I would be delighted to hear from anyone who does.