The American Medal of Honor: Is it "right" to purchase a reproduction for personal collection?

Started by DinoG


Currently in the US, it is illegal to possess or purchase or sell any Medal of Honor. The FBI investigates cases where collectors like me purchase these medals at live auctions or online.

When I contacted the FBI, a spokesperson said they don't actively "go after" collectors, unless they blatantly display their medals. Some of us simply wish to collect the MoH in its various versions, dating back to the US Civil War, and display them in our private homes and offices.

The FBI does not generally pursue any sales of the MoH overseas, unless a family member of a MoH recipient formally requests a case to be opened.

There are several online venues that actively sell the MoH at auction. eMedals, for example, based in France, has a few original MoH and one or two reproductions/replicas.

China appears to be the only country that manufactures replicas of the MoH. I purchased all versions in two separate sales to check the quality of each medal. To the untrained eye, they are excellent reproductions. However, upon close inspection, one finds design flaws and major goofs with the medals, ribbons, neck ribbon, face plate and cravat. In the reproductions, the white stars are thicker and a little sloppy but not noticeable to the uninitiated. The overall look of this collection is simply stunning, all flaws aside.

So my question to you all is this: should we collectors be permitted to purchase and possess the US Medal of Honor in any of its forms for personal display purposes? If not, what are your arguments?

We're not talking "stolen valor" in which a buyer pawns himself off as a legitimate MoH awardee. Anyone dumb enough to claim this should be put in a padded cell.

No, my concern is being able to pursue collecting a beautiful and important piece of American history, without the FBI telling us what to do.

Again, your thoughts?