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Military Order of the Serpent Collection

Started by Kevin Beyer , Jan 21 2007 07:11 AM

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#1 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 07:11 AM

Hello, All,

When I started collecting militaria I received some excellent advice. I was told to find my own niche and stick with it. In doing so, a collection has focus and is more interesting to those with whom you share it. Specializing, as I have done, also adds many challenges that tend to limit that which is and isn't(!) worth spending money.

I dabbled in WWII German medals for about a year before I became disgusted with the fakes, shady characters who pedal them, and the steep learning curve that went with finding original examples. While searching eBay for medals I came across an auction for a Military Order of the Serpent reunion medal from 1914. I had no idea what it was. I knew nothing about the organization. But, I knew I had found my niche. Since then I have sought out membership badges, reunion medals, and other related ephemera to this veterans organization which was in existence from approximately 1904 to somewhere in the 1950s-1960s.

The Military Order of the Serpent was a sub-group of the United Spanish War Veterans. One had to be a member of the U.S.W.V. in good standing before being a member of the M.O.S.. Their purpose was to promote camaraderie and fraternal fellowship amongst the members of the veterans of the Spanish American War.

What I like about collecting M.O.S. items is that they are relatively inexpensive, not many U.S. Militaria collectors are into them, and they do prove to be a challenge in locating items to buy. This has made collecting these items extremely enjoyable for me. And, I have met some incredibly nice people since I started collecting.

I would like to share with you (even though it isn't the best image) a collection of Military Order of the Serpent membership badges.

MOSMembershipCollection.jpg

I would like to think that the Military Order of the Serpents is my own little corner of the hobby. If anyone has come across any M.O.S. items, please let me know. I am always seeking new information about the group.

Kevin

#2 SARGE

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 08:59 AM

Kevin,

Very neat MOS badges! I have never seen the triangular ones before. Any ideas as to dates of the various badges? And, why did they decide on using the serpent as a device?

#3 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 10:14 AM

Kevin,

Very neat MOS badges! I have never seen the triangular ones before. Any ideas as to dates of the various badges? And, why did they decide on using the serpent as a device?


The dates on these particular badges are anyone's guess. I have an M.O.S. ledger that shows they were purchased in bulk (50-100 at a time) throughout most of the time the organization was functioning. You can tell earlier ones by their clasps. I don't know the proper terms for the various pieces of the ribbon suspension. There at least five different manufacturers of the basic membership badge.

The history goes back to one of the founders emulating the insignia for the Sigma Nu fraternity of which he was a member. If you view the image in the link below, you can see from whence the inspiration came.

SigmaNuLogo.gif

This badge was instituded in 1869 at VMI (about 30 years before the founding of the M.O.S.).

I think that the prominent snake of Sigma Nu was the inspiration for choosing Serpents as their identity.


Kevin

Edited by Kevin Beyer, 16 January 2011 - 09:42 AM.


#4 collectsmedals

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 10:22 AM

That is a great idea, finding your own small niche in the hobby!

I love those Military Order of the Serpent medals, you are going to have a very special and unique collection.

#5 Jim Woods

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 02:29 PM

I too like the Military Order of the Serpent. I have some membership cards medals and membership pin. Plus I have 3 veterans magazines that were sent to GAR, Indian War, Spanish American War veterans and they include the MOS.
Great Collection. :)

#6 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 03:11 PM

I too like the Military Order of the Serpent. I have some membership cards medals and membership pin. Plus I have 3 veterans magazines that were sent to GAR, Indian War, Spanish American War veterans and they include the MOS.
Great Collection. :)


Hi, Jim,

I would definitely be interested in seeing images of the membership cards. There were three degrees of membership: local, state, and national. I don't recall if I have seen membership cards for each.

Kevin

#7 ADMIN

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 07:23 PM

This is definitely something I did not know about. Very fascinating to read! I too would be interested in seeing more from this group.

#8 Gil Sanow

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 08:12 PM

Interesting about the Sigma Nu connection -- I think theu are in fact called "the snakes"!

G

#9 matmil

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 11:51 AM

Here is a MOS badge you might like.
Matt

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#10 matmil

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 11:53 AM

close up

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#11 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 03:43 PM

Matmil,

That is a great Past Gu Gu Grandississimo (PGGG) badge. I don't have any MOS Past Officer badges in that are attributable. (Although, I do know the provenance of my PSGGG badge.) I have seen several attributed examples. I just haven't had the good fortune of adding one to my collection.

Thank you for sharing this with forum.

Kevin

#12 matmil

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 04:53 PM

Hi Kevin: I got a little info off of ancestry on him and traced the lodge to LA or california, that info not in front of me at the present, but could never figure out what unit he served with in the span am war. I just noticed today some MOS ribbons, that were sold today ended without any bidders, I think they all opend at $35?
I found a registration card for Edward Raymond Percival from Idaho, dated 1918 he was 41 at that time, 1930 census has him LA and as Spanish war vet, 1910 census has him in Vermaont.
Matt

#13 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 10:04 AM

Hi Kevin: I got a little info off of ancestry on him and traced the lodge to LA or california, that info not in front of me at the present, but could never figure out what unit he served with in the span am war. I just noticed today some MOS ribbons, that were sold today ended without any bidders, I think they all opend at $35?
I found a registration card for Edward Raymond Percival from Idaho, dated 1918 he was 41 at that time, 1930 census has him LA and as Spanish war vet, 1910 census has him in Vermaont.
Matt


Matt,

I owe a good part of my MOS collection to Mr. Everitt Bowles. He is a trustworthy seller and some of those badges should have sold for at least his asking price. My problem? I already owned all of the National Encampment badges he was offering.

I checked my resources and did not find Mr. E.R. Percival amongst the roster of National Level members for the MOS. He may have achieved the Degree of Kaul (state level membership), but he did not achieve the Degree of Bayani (National Level membership).

Kevin

#14 matmil

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 03:49 PM

Kevin, right I think if he was national, it would be a gold Byani badge (PGGGG), Past GRAND GU GU Grandissmo ?

Matt

#15 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 06:21 PM

Kevin, right I think if he was national, it would be a gold Byani badge (PGGGG), Past GRAND GU GU Grandissmo ?

Matt


If Mr. Percival were a Past National President, his badge would appear as the one depicted in the lower right of my original posting. The title of the Past National President is the Past Supreme Gu Gu Grandississimo. If he were a Past State President the badge would appear as the one depicted in the lower middle of my original posting. The title for this position would be Past Grand Gu Gu Grandississimo.

Mr. Percival's badge must have been a custom made one. It was probably given by the members of his Lair as a presentation honor. Otherwise, traditionally the badges for PGGG's would appear as depicted in the lower left of my original post.

Kevin

#16 matmil

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 06:37 PM

Ok thanks, I've got that stuff from george K around here somewhere, but didn't remeber exactly.
thanks

#17 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 08:13 PM

Ok thanks, I've got that stuff from george K around here somewhere, but didn't remeber exactly.
thanks


Mr. Kane is an extremely knowledgeable individual in the field of USWV and MOS as veterans' organizations. I am sure his knowledge surpasses my own. He has written a book on the subject and has copies for sale. If you are really interested in these groups, I would suggest obtaining a copy. There is no other resource like it anywhere.

Kevin

#18 matmil

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 07:49 AM

The reverse medal is named to Percival, Lair No. 4. appears engraved as Gatacataca Panuela
From the MOS Lairs 1904-1922.
California: Lair #4 listed as Catacataca-Panucala, City Los Angeles, CA Chartered jan 31 1912.

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#19 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 06:22 PM

I have just added a fantastic new piece to my MOS collection. It is something I've rarely ever seen before. It is a mini medal for the Bayani (3rd degree, National Level) members. I wasn't sure that one existed, but it has all of the characteristics of an original full sized version.

MOSBayaniMini.jpg MOSBayaniMiniBack.jpg

The back is marked STERLING and the green, outer stripes have lost all of their color and faded to white. The medal measures 1.5" from top to bottom. It is tiny!

These are the kinds of treasures that bring me the utmost joy while collecting Military Order of the Serpent related items!

Kevin

Edited by Kevin Beyer, 04 June 2008 - 06:23 PM.


#20 NoahBenzing

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 08:44 PM

Hello Kevin, my name is Noah Benzing and I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma and work for the Oklahoma Army Surplus. We have in our display case an Order of The Serpent medal very similar to one you have (group of six; upper left) but it might be different. I'll take some pictures when I get back to work Monday and post them here for you to check it out :)

#21 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 11:00 AM

Hi, Noah,

I look forward to seeing the medal you have. There were several manufacturers of MOS membership medals. As such there are variations in the way they were made. I am always interested in seeing different types!

Thanks,

Kevin

#22 Keith

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 07:48 PM

Here is my small contribution. I have no idea what it was for. The pinback bar measures about 1.5" and the pendant is about .5" in diameter. Thanks.
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#23 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 08:12 PM

Keith,

What you have there appears to be the top bar of the 1921 Minneapolis, Mn, Military Order of the Serpent National Encampment badge. I am not sure if this type of top pin was used for other reunions, so it could be for some other event. Attached is a picture of what it might be.

MOS1921Minneapolis2.jpg

Kevin

#24 Keith

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 08:18 PM

Yep, that is it! Thanks!..

Edited by Kevin Beyer, 06 April 2009 - 08:24 PM.


#25 NoahBenzing

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 08:48 AM

Finally got around to taking some pictures of the Military Order of the Serpent badge that turns out to be part of a Lieutenant Oliver C. Hinkle's collection.
What can you tell me about this medal Kevin? I know it's an earlier version based on the cutouts but that's about it.

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