Military history is a truly fascinating subject beloved by many collectors and one of the most interesting areas for enthusiasts is medal collecting. One of the most attractive things about military medals is that, unlike some other forms of military hardware, they are readily available, come in a wide range of prices and they are easily stored. They suffer little deterioration in condition so long as they are kept in a dry place and the ribbons are protected from moths and/or mildew. Where medals have been inscribed with the name of the recipient and their regiment, and most British medals of the 19th & 20th century were, it is a good idea to check the relevant regimental roll to confirm authenticity before making any purchase. Medals can be found which date from many turbulent times in our history and collectors generally tend to specialise in a particular period such as the Napoleonic Wars, The Crimean War, The Boer War or, of course, the two World Wars. Each service had their own gallantry awards, but medals can be generally divided into Campaign Medals, which were issued to all those who fought in a particular campaign or battle, and medals which were awarded for bravery in action.
The Distinguished Conduct Medal (first issued after the Crimean War) and the Military Cross (issued during the 1st. World War to officers up to the rank of Captain) are two such medals. The Military General Service Medal was issued to soldiers who fought in the Napoleonic Wars, but these are few and far between however, because they were not issued until 1849 and they could not be received posthumously! The most treasured medal of all must be the Victoria Cross, although the value placed on these depends very much on the particular reason for awarding the medal. Unfortunately, there have been many convincing copies made and a check should always be made as to the authenticity.