Boer War Page 12c
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Victorian/Edwardian Medals - 6

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Coming Up - Bogus Bars
for the QSA
The Queen's South Africa Medal
Another genuine antique item brought to you by your friendly folks on ebay...
Five original Boer War medal clasps being samples………. probably form the Royal Mint. They are of the highest quality and the stippling behind the lettering is finely defined. Four are unfinished and as supplied with one being nearly completed.

DEFENCE OF MAFEKING & our other , Rhodesia, Belfast, Wepner and South Africa 1900. The first being an extremely scarce clasp. Ideal to replace lost bars or to frame as a display. These would be easy to complete and are period bars – NOT jewellers copies.
Helpful Hints: Boosted by prose promising endless possibilities, and guaranteed to make every medal forger in the world salivate, are these blanks made by someone to make bars for the QSA.

Are they original? The seller says "probably form the Royal Mint" and "are period bars – NOT jewellers copies." How's that for provenance from a "motivated seller." How can anyone guarantee these are not cast by a modern copier? Will the Royal Mint supply a letter of authenticity? "Yes, indeed, these are exactly like we have in our museum from the period..."

With less than that, would a collector of "real Boer War memorabilia" even want these? Let alone spend money on them?

Client Found: But the blanks might become useful indeed to people who forge bars for unscrupulous collectors, or sellers who have a three bar that they would like to turn into a six or seven bar medal.

Why stop there? The seller offers six new bar blanks in all...

Will nine, or ten bar medals now become more common? (See below)

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink: The seller does not say these are historical treasures and collectibles just to be mounted and admired for what they may be.

No sir. These are not just to look at but are to be put to use. "Ideal to replace lost bars or to frame as a display. These would be easy to complete." Hopefully this seller does not offer bayonets, guns, or items of torture for sale...

Anyone lost bars lately? It's far easier and cheaper to find a medal with real bars than to jury rig something together. Replacement bars will never be the same as originals, either in value, or for sentimental reasons, because they are after all, modern repros, and not connected at all to the original donor or the original recipient. They are as desirable as a modern Boer War helmet repro, or as the repaired handle that has been reattached to the Queen Victoria Jubilee teapot.

Why would anyone want to encourage anyone to "complete" a genuine historical artefact and ruin its value with a modern alteration?

Unless of course you keep it all private. And the repro bars all suddenly become originals for sale...

The Defence of Mafeking: A very rare bar indeed as the seller takes care to point out "being an extremely scarce clasp." Medals with this bar sell for very large amounts, because very few people were ever qualified to receive it.

Will we soon see Defence of Mafeking medal bars blossom till everyone has one, and the defenders of Mafeking grow from a few to thousands...? The possibilities are endless and very profitable.

Hopefully someone will see the possibilities as the seller has set a very high reserve on what would otherwise be just marginal curiosities of interest to very few bona fide collectors. If they were real. But there is so much questionable dealing going on with this item, can anyone believe these are anything but a forger's tools? And being marketed as such?

Forger's Alert: Please, no need to worry about being found out!!!!! The ebayer has taken the precaution to make use of ebay's "User's ID Kept Private." When you try to find out who would bid on these items, like you can on millions of other items being sold on ebay, you find that this seller has locked out prying eyes. All you get is "Private Auction; All Bidders Identities Protected." Why would you possibly want to do this if you, your transaction, or your targeted buyers were "above board."

The seller and buyers deserve each other. They obviously share a common intent that cannot stand the light of day or open dealing.

Obviously people who sell a lot of medals must be the first suspects in both acquiring these bar molds as well as wanting to keep their names locked out from the medal buying fraternity. No use letting your customers know that you have "medal manufacturing equipment "on site. "Mafeking bar, anyone?"

QSA - The Queen's South Africa Medal
When war broke out in South Africa, the medal designers set to work immediately to create a medal that would be awarded to men for service in the various theatres of war. The Queen's South Africa Medal (left) with its central orange band, bordered, by narrow dark blue bands and wider outside margins of red, was awarded to all officers and men who served in the Great Anglo-Boer War in South Africa.

As with earlier Victorian medals, bars were to be added for different campaigns, territories, or major battles. In all 26 bars were created for different engagements and territories.

Is this a fake? READ ON.

Each medal had the regimental number, the name of the recipient, and his unit stamped around the outside of the rim of the medal.

Fake Test: The way the writing is applied to the rim can be used to tell a fake. READ ON......

Ultra Rare Medal: A nine bar QSA, like the one on the left, is an extremely rare find. Cavalry units, because they were much more mobile than infantrymen, so often ended up with more bars. After Lord Roberts' march on Bloemfontein began on Feb. 11, 1900, Canadian infantrymen walked, and watched, as Gen. French's cavalry made a brief detour - on horseback - on Feb. 15, to relieve Kimberley and get their Kimberley bar, while the infantry nursed their blisters, onions, and corns.

9 Bar or Ten? In all 26 bars were eventually created to be added to the South Africa Medal, but few ever got more than a few bars. One authority claims 9 bars were the most ever awarded. To see the data on another medal that claims to 10 genuine bars click the link below...

Collectors want QSAs with the most bars. Since these medals are in hot demand, and command top prices, medal forgers have found it lucrative to take bars from a variety of medals and mount them together on one multi-bar medal. Fortunately, for the consumer, in a 100 years all medals don't wear the same way and neither do the bars. So it is easy to see light and dark bars on forged medals. Original bars were added at the same time; they should all show equal amounts of staining, dirt, wear, patina, and scuffing. If they don't you can assume you are looking at a fake assembly.

The KSA: The QSA, has all the bars because Queen Victoria's reign marked the more traditional "set-piece" battle period of the war from 1899 through 1900. It was easier to award bars for these, often big, battles.

Her death also coincided with the end of this more "traditional" phase of the war as the Boers changed tactics to a "hit and run" guerilla style of fighting which could literally erupt anywhere. So KSAs (King's South Africa), marking the war under Edward VII (near right) were awarded only with bars for territories where the men served. KSAs almost always have only one or two bars. As a result collectors pay huge amounts of money - like $1,500 US - for the Queen Victoria QSA with many or unique bars, like Defence of Kimberley or Defence of Mafeking, but very little for a KSA.

(It also leads to forgery - READ ON.)

Double medals for service are common, but not among the Canadians. The vast majority of men in Canadian contingents served under Queen Victoria - the last units were on the way home when she died. The last Canadian contingent which saw action - sent out in 1902 - only got the KSA.

FAKE !!!!!!
Because QSAs, the more bars they have, are worth a lot of money, some unscrupulous medal sellers are soldering bars from less valuable medals to create 5, 6, or 7 bar medals. Before you buy, remember, bars were almost all added at the same time. Check differences in soldering, and see if all the bars look the same in finish and patina. If some have a different "look" or "age burn," suspect a forgery. Also check the unit the soldier belonged to. Did it really serve in Mafeking, or Diamond Hill, or in the places noted on the bars? That's a quick way to check. Or verify with the soldier's service records. Or only buy from a reputable dealer like. Or if you buy from a pawnbroker or antique dealer ask him. Is it fake? And watch his eyes as he says it!!!
Check that Rim: On genuine medals the name on the rim is carefully printed completely parallel with the edge of the medal.

On fake medals, the name is often roughly printed and not parallel to the edge of the medal. (No examples provided.)

Renamed Medals: Properly inscribed medals show the print type and alignment on official medals as seen here on the "Minton" and "Kimberley" rims.

Sometimes unscrupulous dealers "rename" medals they find and try to up their value by grinding off the old name of an unknown soldier or regiment and adding more valuable ones.

Sometimes an owner would do this himself, to make his medal look more fancy.

Right is a medal "renamed" to AW Money, where the official original printing has been ground off and a more artistic script substituted, perhaps by Money himself. A forger would hardly pick a non-standard script that would be sure to raise eyebrows. Or would he?
Stolen !!!! Help!!!!
As a public service we ask you to look at this link to see if you have information on a huge collection of military medals - including a large collection of QSAs - stolen, on Apr. 25, 2000 (ANZAC Day) from Norm Liddell of Sydney Australia. Complete list and info is viewable at:

http://www.jbma.com.au/stolen/default.aspx

If link does not work get it by Searching Google with "Norm Liddell Stolen Medals"

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