Recently I consigned the Marine Corps Civil War Service medal illustrated below, to my favorite military medal auction house. I knew it was a copy of some sort, but thought it might be an old replacement copy with some minor value. The planchet was too thin, the loop and ring were too thin and the number on the rim was too high a number to be good according to Vernon’s catalog. The ribbon and partial wrap brooch looked old so I sent it in to Jeff Floyd at FJP Auctions. Jeff sent it back with a nice letter explaining that some of the characteristics described above identify this medal as a modern copy made by the Graco Co and that someone had artificially aged this medal and replaced the original crimped brooch with the older style brooch now on the ribbon.
Sooner or later everyone needs to seek professional help. Back when I realized it was time to have a will and do some estate planning there just happened to be a series of free lectures at the local high school to help people plan their lives. I went to the will and estate planning which had a variety of speakers mostly looking for donations from estates. The regular lawyer explaining the basics was very good and a local. Based on his presentation I picked him to be my lawyer for this aspect of my life. While working for my last employer the company ended it’s pension plan and started up a 401k and an ESOP plan. All employees had to make some serious decisions and the financial firm our company chose sent our account rep. to our plant twice a year to teach and update us. Eventually he voluntarily taught a series of night classes at our plant on personal financial planning. The classes were well worth the time and it was a joy to have someone teaching the classes who enthusiastically lived and breathed the subject. Then the company was sold and the new management ended the ESOP plan and stopped matching any of our 401k contributions. They also went with another (cheaper I’m sure) financial management firm that I did not feel comfortable with. As soon as possible I cashed out and rolled my funds over into an IRA with our former financial firm and the same advisor who taught the great classes in the good old days. I haven’t lost a nights sleep since then. I used the same principle when I needed to find a trustworthy auction firm to consign military medals to. As a member of three military collector forums I kept seeing one name constantly answering questions and freely dispensing valuable information and advice. He is also a moderator on the OMSA forum and has a long record of service to OMSA. He is totally committed to the hobby and is my auctioneer of choice. I hope you will all be as lucky as I have been when picking your professionals.