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Medal Mounting

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This is an article from Iain Hannigan’s blog.  Iain mounts medals as a hobby and has come across some pretty shoddy practices from some so called professionals.  This spurred him to write this guide to how it should be done.  Original article here.

Mounting of Medals a service I provide to those who ask.  I am self-taught but adhere to regulations in my methods and have pride in my finished work.
What boils my piss annoys me intensely is so-called “professional” companies charging “Top Dollar” (I have seen £9 per medal) for mounting and they use cereal box cardboard, double-sided tape and fishing line.

If you parade in the wet (a high likelihood in our climate) they’ll go soggy and just fall apart.

This brings me to the cause of my current ire, to whit, a set of 4 medals (mounted as described above) that required work to add a 4thbar (indicating 30 years’ service) to a Volunteer Reserve Services Medal (VRSM).


Army Dress Regulations states:

Method of Court Mounting Full Size Medals.

 A backing of buckram 69.85 mm deep by width required, depending on the number of Medals. 

Medal ribbons should be placed side by side up to and including a quantity of 6 Medals unless the width of these 6 medals extends past the left shoulder seam of the uniform.  In this instance, the 6 medals may be overlapped. 7 or more court mounted medals should always be overlapped with the senior ribbon nearest the centre of the chest being left fully exposed.  The overlap of ribbons will vary depending on the number of Medals worn and the size of the individual’s chest.   

At no time should more than two-thirds of any ribbon be covered by another; the overlap of each ribbon should be equal. 

The Medal is suspended from a ribbon to allow the centre of a round Medal to be cut in half by the backing, i.e. the nose of the impression of a sovereign’s head on a Medal should rest on the bottom edge of the backing. 

The overall length of a suspended Medal will be 88.9 mm. 

No Medal should be suspended from less than 31.74 mm of Medal riband; in the case of a larger Order, Decoration or Medal, the backing may be increased to 76.2 mm depth to allow a minimum of 31.74 mm of riband suspending the Medal.    

A standard issue Medal brooch should be sewn to the back of the buckram.   The back overall should be covered by a black face cloth or doeskin, with the exception of the Guards Division, whose Medals are backed with scarlet.  

Medals are sewn down with a neutral coloured thread.    When mounted, the bottom edges of the Medals, regardless of their size, should be level.”


 

Time and again I see groups of fewer than 6 medals “overlapped” and as alluded to, mounted with the use of double sided tape and/ or glue.  This is shoddy and disrespectful to the owner of the medals who is paying.
“Why are they paying?”

You may well ask.

Swing mounting is carried out at public expense i.e. free by your unit tailor. Court mounting is at private expense, unless on public duties (Royal guard).

Court mounting is much the smarter (and preferred) option for many and after the last 2 decades or more there has been ample opportunity to deploy on operations and earn a substantial amount of medals.

To constantly have additional medals added to your “group” can become prohibitively expensive and to pay £9 each for cardboard and tape is a disgrace.


 

Let me now take you through this latest commission.
The group consists of:

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Figure 1:Group as received (obverse)

Op Telic

Queens Golden Jubilee Medal

Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal

Volunteer Reserve Services Medal with 3 bars (25 years’ service)

 

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Figure 2: Group as received (reverse)

The commission was to add a further bar (indicating 30 years’ service)

On stripping the group out to remount I found one of the worse quality jobs it has ever been my misfortune to come across…

Figures 3-5: Stripping out

 

The medals had been “Professionally” mounted on cardboard.  Held down with double sided tape and sewn with fishing line.

Once I had cleaned the tape residue off of the medals it was time to prepare the resources to do a “proper job”.

At this point-I confess- I had to deviate from regulations.  To enable me to add a 4th bar the backing had to be extended to 3 1/2″ deep so that there was sufficient length of suspension ribbon for them to fit on.  This was after starting with 3″ backing and finding it too short.

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Figure 6: Polished obverse
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Figure 7: Polished reverse (sans tape residue)
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Figure 8: remounting resources

 

The backing Buckram is doubled up and stitched together (my sewing machine did protest) to give extra rigidity.  It is covered in black felt (so black it must be from a Priest shop #FatherTed) prior to adding ribbons.

 

The ribbons are initially laid in mirror order on the back face of the backing and sewn on.

They are then pulled tight over the front of the backing and held with clips whilst the top is sewn prior to the brooch.

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Figure 16: Attaching the Brooch

The brooch is threaded onto the ribbons and located with pins that form pilot holes to allow it to be hand sewn on.

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Figure 17: Positioning the Medals

The Medal are positioned with 18mm below the bottom edge of the backing and sewn down with a neutral tread (light grey in this case). A standard medal is 36mm diameter (jubilee 34mm, VRSM oval)

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Figure 18: The finished product

I am pleased with the result and now embark on the trickier task of my customer’s  miniatures.

If you are in the market for this kind of work, check the mounter’s previous work/ reviews, and remember….

CAVEAT EMPTOR

This Article was originally published here by Iain Hannigan and remains entirely his intellectual property.  Permission kindly give to reproduce the article by the author.  Let us know what you think in the comments.