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Tiffany Cross MOH Info and Request

Started by Mark Costa , Mar 15 2008 08:06 PM

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#1 Mark Costa

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 08:06 PM

I apologize for the length of this post but over the years the “Tiffany Cross” has been designated as the “rarest” version of the Medal of Honor. In fact this is not the case. The US Navy at one time allowed the Medal of Honor to be awarded for both combative and non-combative bravery. The Tiffany Cross was created in 1918 to recognize heroism and valor in actual combat, with the “Star” version being retained to recognize non-combative bravery. This system of dual versions of the Medal of Honor created immediate confusion. A lack of understanding of the rules and the availability of an actual presentation medal, allowed for some incorrect awards of the Tiffany Cross.

Unfortunately, during this brief period of Medal of Honor history, no one bothered to record which type of medals were presented to whom. Hence, research in this area has been both lacking and difficult. For example, for actions in WWI, 21 Navy and 7 Marine Corps personnel received a Navy Medal of Honor. But not all of them were awarded for combat and not all of them were Tiffany Crosses. To make matters worse, the Medal of Honor continued to be awarded during the interim period between the world wars, some being of the Tiffany Cross variety. Also, some medals were being presented for belated actions that occurred before WWI. Therefore, the number of possible recipients was very hard to determine.

Over the years I have been able to establish that at least 25 men received a Tiffany Cross Medal of Honor. They are as follows:
In World War I the recipients were:

John Balch
Joel Boone
Louis Cukela
Charles Hamman
David Hayden
Osmond Ingram
Eduoard Izac
Ernest Janson
John Kelly
Matej Kocak
Alexander Lyle
James Madison
Weedon Osborne
Orlando Petty
John Pruitt
Robert Robinson
John Siegel
Daniel Sullivan
Ralph Talbot
Frank Upton

In the Interim Years the recipients were:

Floyd Bennett Non-Combative Action
William Button
Richard Byrd Non-Combative Action
Herman Hanneken
Frank Schilt


As has been previously stated, the Tiffany Cross continued to be presented after the war for both combative (ie. Schilt) and non-combative (ie. Byrd and Bennett) heroism. Obviously the original statutes stating that the Tiffany Cross was for combative heroism was somehow forgotten or became confusing for those dealing with awards -- this confusion lasts to this very day. Also making things difficult, is that some TC recipients requested and received a Star version after the TC was abolished in 1942. Joel Boone for example, wore his TC until 1942 -- then requested a star version which he wore until his death -- the TC being safely tucked away.

Even official organizations such as the Medal of Honor Society and the Naval Historical Center have incorrect information on their websites. They insist, that ALL WWI Naval and Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipients received a TC, when in fact the evidence shows, that at least 6 men were presented “Star” versions: Bradley, Covington, McKenzie, McGunigal, Ormsbee and Schmidt.

This leaves two men whose medal is unidentified: Tedford Cann and Ora Graves. Does anyone know or have photos of the type of medal that was presented to either of these men? Or does anyone have any other information regarding a recipient of the Tiffany Cross not listed above. Any information or photos would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Mark Costa

#2 Jim Baker

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 06:45 AM

Hi Mark,

Very interesting post. I have always wondered if Chief John King was awarded a TC? He was twice awarded the MoH for non combat events prior to WWI. The only photo I have of him is poor and I am guessing they were the star type.

I borrowed this photo from a post by 4starchris just so we all know what we're looking at.


post_387_1195840576.jpg

#3 Mark Costa

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 08:33 AM

Jim:

John King's MOH's were both of the star variety as both were presented years before the Tiffany Cross was even created. As both were non-combative awards he would not have been eligible for one even if his actions were performed in WWI.

Mark

#4 bobgee

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 09:12 AM

You start this post stating: "I apologize for the length of this post but over the years the “Tiffany Cross” has been designated as the “rarest” version of the Medal of Honor. In fact this is not the case."

I seem to be missing something here about the "rarity" of the Tiffany Cross type of Medal of Honor. The Navy Star type MOH planchet has changed little since 1862. Over 1,000 Navy & Marine Corps Medals of Honor have been awarded. You state only 25 received the Tiffany Cross type. Doesn't that make the TC the "rarest" of Medal of Honor types? If the Tiffany Cross is not.......which is?
Bobgee

#5 Mark Costa

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 11:30 AM

Bobgee:

My apologies, I should have added that the current Air Force Medal of Honor is the rarest as it has only been awarded 13 times since its creation in 1965.

Mark

#6 Jim Baker

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 01:35 PM

Jim:

John King's MOH's were both of the star variety as both were presented years before the Tiffany Cross was even created. As both were non-combative awards he would not have been eligible for one even if his actions were performed in WWI.

Mark



Hi Mark,

Sorry I caught the date the second time I read your post. Thanks!!

#7 retnypdcapt

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 04:01 PM

reference the photo in post #2: it has always been my understanding that there was NO MINIATURE for the medal of honor. although i have seen photo's of louis cukela wearing a row of minis, including both the army moh and the navy (tc) moh. any comments?

#8 Mark Costa

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 04:21 PM

The mintiature shown above is one that was likely produced in the late 1980's or early 1990's. I have one of these myself. The only known miniatures that were ever produced for actual wear, were those ARMY ones produced in the 1920's by Studley. These were unofficial but they were worn by several men on their dress uniforms before any specific regulations were enacted strictly prohibiting them. The photo you mention of Cukela shows one of these army miniatures. No other miniatures, either a navy or air force were ever produced that were actually worn. This navy one above is nothing more than a "fantasy piece" and can not be considered an actual worn version. The Tiffancy Cross has never been "Miniaturized" as far as I know. In the two photos of Cukela showing him wearing both his MOH's, the only miniature is the army version. Needless to say a REAL 1920's produced Studley miniature is virtually impossible to find -- I have seen only one over the years. All others are nothing more than late 20th century fantasy pieces.

Mark

#9 Brig

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 04:27 PM

The mintiature shown above is one that was likely produced in the late 1980's or early 1990's. I have one of these myself. The only known miniatures that were ever produced for actual wear, were those ARMY ones produced in the 1920's by Studley. These were unofficial but they were worn by several men on their dress uniforms before any specific regulations were enacted strictly prohibiting them. The photo you mention of Cukela shows one of these army miniatures. No other miniatures, either a navy or air force were ever produced that were actually worn. This navy one above is nothing more than a "fantasy piece" and can not be considered an actual worn version. The Tiffancy Cross has never been "Miniaturized" as far as I know. In the two photos of Cukela showing him wearing both his MOH's, the only miniature is the army version. Needless to say a REAL 1920's produced Studley miniature is virtually impossible to find -- I have seen only one over the years. All others are nothing more than late 20th century fantasy pieces.

Mark

the newer non-reg minis were probably made by 'Biasay's' (sp?), a uniform store out in Quantico that went under in the 90s with the death of the owner. They used to produce many non-reg MOH lapel pins and minis for use with their offered mounting series. I have two mini MOH in my collection from an unknown source, and two non-reg lapel pins that are definately from Biasays

#10 ItemCo16527

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 03:48 AM

Over the years I have been able to establish that at least 25 men received a Tiffany Cross Medal of Honor. They are as follows:
In World War I the recipients were:

John Balch
Joel Boone
Louis Cukela
Charles Hamman
David Hayden
Osmond Ingram
Eduoard Izac
Ernest Janson
John Kelly
Matej Kocak
Alexander Lyle
James Madison
Weedon Osborne
Orlando Petty
John Pruitt
Robert Robinson
John Siegel
Daniel Sullivan
Ralph Talbot
Frank Upton

Thank you for posting your list Mark. My best friend is the grandson of one of James Madison's nephews (or "Uncle Joe" as he called him). It never dawned on me that Cdr. Madison received the Tiffany Cross for his heroism in WWI. Thanks for setting me straight!

Edited by ItemCo16527, 17 March 2008 - 03:50 AM.


#11 Mark Costa

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 07:21 AM

There is a very nice portrait photo of Cdr James Madison on the Naval Historical Center website showing him wearing the Tiffany Cross.

Mark Costa

#12 ItemCo16527

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 07:38 PM

There is a very nice portrait photo of Cdr James Madison on the Naval Historical Center website showing him wearing the Tiffany Cross.

Mark Costa

Didn't know that either, I'll have to go check it out. Thanks, Mark! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#13 bobgee

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 06:36 AM

reference the photo in post #2: it has always been my understanding that there was NO MINIATURE for the medal of honor. although i have seen photo's of louis cukela wearing a row of minis, including both the army moh and the navy (tc) moh. any comments?


Discussion of the miniature MOH is always interesting. We believe that only the full-size Medal may be worn yet we find groups to MOH holders which have miniature groups containing an MOH (i.e. Cukela and Doolittle). Can anyone quote Regulations, current or past, Army, Navy or Air Force, which specifically prohibits the miniature Medal of Honor? Thanks.......Semper Fi!............Bobgee

#14 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 06:47 AM

Discussion of the miniature MOH is always interesting. We believe that only the full-size Medal may be worn yet we find groups to MOH holders which have miniature groups containing an MOH (i.e. Cukela and Doolittle). Can anyone quote Regulations, current or past, Army, Navy or Air Force, which specifically prohibits the miniature Medal of Honor? Thanks.......Semper Fi!............Bobgee



I didn't find any prohibitive words in 32CFR578.4.....so I think what you might be getting at Bob, is that the absence of any words prohibiting the wear of a mini enables the legitimacy of the ones we see in groupings.... http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/think.gif

#15 shrapneldude

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 05:56 PM

reference the photo in post #2: it has always been my understanding that there was NO MINIATURE for the medal of honor. although i have seen photo's of louis cukela wearing a row of minis, including both the army moh and the navy (tc) moh. any comments?

I've seen this same photo, and often wondered...have a WWI-ish looking mini army in my collection -- post a photo later -- but the photo I saw of him wearing the Navy MOH around his neck and Army mini -- he was awarded both for the same action. May not be regulation, but who was really going to challenge a MOH recipient in uniform?

#16 Mark Costa

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 03:21 AM

Back in the 20's, 30's and 40's it seemed standard practice to have miniature medals of honor for career service holders. But in the 1950's all regulations relating to the wearing of medals determined that the Medal of Honor could only be worn around the neck or a ribbon bar. Miniatures could no longer to be worn. Check any current regulations regarding the wearing of medals and this can be seen. One must remember that during these earlier times, the medal in many cases were still pin back awards. The Tiffany Cross itself is a pin back award that was attached to a neck ribbon. Even during WWII the pin back Army MOH was still being awarded. Hence the practice of still having a "mini" for dress uniforms seemed logical.

Now back the original topic of my first post -- anyone have any photos, have more information regarding the Tiffany Cross itself???

Mark

#17 bobgee

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 07:27 AM

Here is an example of the first strike of the Tiffany Cross with the pyramid suspender. Probably dating from the early 1920s. It is engraved on the reverse "For Exhibition Purposes Only". It is also not made of gold. The brooch is marked on the reverse, "BB&B Bronze". Note also that the ribbon is upside down. As close as most collectors will get to one of these historic American medals. Bobgee


From_DT_03_08_214.jpg From_DT_03_08_215.jpg

#18 Mark Costa

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 09:42 AM

Bobgee:

Do you have any provence on this medal? The pyramid at the top is none like I have ever seen. All the first strikes I have seen have a very sharp cornered pyramid at the top. Here is a photo that was posted sometime ago by another member.

Mark

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#19 bobgee

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 02:54 PM

Bobgee:

Do you have any provence on this medal? The pyramid at the top is none like I have ever seen. All the first strikes I have seen have a very sharp cornered pyramid at the top. Here is a photo that was posted sometime ago by another member.

Mark


Hmmmm...........Don't know how you get provenance on a "For Exhibition Purposes Only" medal. i'm just courteously posting the pics in response to your request for info. Bobgee

#20 Mark Costa

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 04:36 PM

Bobgee:

Meant no offense, I was inquiring whether you knew from whence it came from ie. defunct museum, collector, a Tiffany employee etc etc. As the "finger pyramid" is unique on this one, I was wondering whether there might not have been another strike or this might be a modified medal based on the way the "finger" is attached to the cross itself.

Mark

#21 shrapneldude

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 05:23 PM

Restrikes of the TC (pretty sure that's what I have here) can be found on Australian medal dealers stands and shelves, as well as on the internet. Interestingly, the total repro Tiffany Cross medals being produced in AU don't have the "VALOR" bar at the top...not sure why they omitted that when the redid the medal but perhaps to avoid any copyright or some such?

last shot is a very aged mini that was given to me back when I first got into collecting in the early eary 90s, it's either a very old novelty piece, or proof that a mini MOH was worn, if not authorized, some time ago.





#22 Mark Costa

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 03:31 AM

Schrapneldude:

A restrike is an official striking of the medal by the official manufacturer. Your TC medal shown is a very badly made repro definately made in the 1980's when these things first started hitting the collector circuit. The Tiffany Cross only had two strikes. The first was made in 1919 that had the "finger" at the top of the cross as shown by the post by bobgee, and the other in the late 1920's as shown in the photos with the minis farther up in this thread. I have never seen a TC mini, either made during the period of the 20's or 30's or a recent repro mini.

The army mini of yours is also a badly made repro from the early 1980's. The only "real" minis ever produced were mostly made by Studley Co. in the 1920-30's. And these were all army versions. I have never seen a 1920-30's produced navy version. And I have seen only a couple of these period minis ever and only one ever for sale, although the Patch King Company were still selling army minis made by Studley according to their early catalogs in the 1950's. But by then the mini was "outlawed" and few bought them. My guess would be that few of these 1920-30's minis ever ended up in collections or we would be seeing more of them in the collector circuit. The ones seen today both army and navy are those fakes produced in the 1980's or the current fakes from overseas.

Mark

Edited by Mark Costa, 20 March 2008 - 03:47 AM.


#23 hhbooker2

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 10:31 AM

A drawing of the Tiffny Cross. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/think.gif

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#24 bobgee

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 08:28 AM

The mintiature shown above is one that was likely produced in the late 1980's or early 1990's. I have one of these myself. The only known miniatures that were ever produced for actual wear, were those ARMY ones produced in the 1920's by Studley. These were unofficial but they were worn by several men on their dress uniforms before any specific regulations were enacted strictly prohibiting them. The photo you mention of Cukela shows one of these army miniatures. No other miniatures, either a navy or air force were ever produced that were actually worn. This navy one above is nothing more than a "fantasy piece" and can not be considered an actual worn version. The Tiffancy Cross has never been "Miniaturized" as far as I know. In the two photos of Cukela showing him wearing both his MOH's, the only miniature is the army version. Needless to say a REAL 1920's produced Studley miniature is virtually impossible to find -- I have seen only one over the years. All others are nothing more than late 20th century fantasy pieces.

Mark


Mark - FYI - Your are incorrect in your statements regarding the TC MOH and the Army version as well. Here is a copy of a portion a page from the Bailey, Banks & Biddle 1928 Catalog which offers both versions for sale in miniature. The so-called "Tiffany Cross" was designed by Tiffany New York but was manufactured by BB&B in Philadelphia. The sale of miniatures by this firm suggests that such medals were authorized for wear at that time. Note that the miniature version has the pyramid shape shown in the full size BB&B "For Exhibition" piece which I posted previously.
Bobgee
BB_B_Medal_Page.MOHs.JPG

#25 Mark Costa

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 08:45 AM

Bobgee:

Many thanks for the post on the TC miniature. This is the first I have ever seen in regards to a Navy miniature ever being offered for sale during the period in which they could be worn. I knew about the Army version but never a navy version. I have never seen a 1920-30's TC miniature or even a photo of one being worn. Thanks for sharing that. Opens the research farther in this regard. I have a feeling though that the Bailey Catalog actually shows full size medals in their photos instead of the sold miniatures. The details look too good to be a miniature especially with the army miniature, as the photo shows the unique suspension ring worn with the full size medal. I doubt that ring was on a miniature. The period mini army ones I have seen either in person, or in photos do not have that unique device.

Mark

Edited by Mark Costa, 21 March 2008 - 08:53 AM.



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