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Care and feeding of medals in a collection


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Hello all,

 

I have a bit of a conundrum.

 

I have a few medals in my collection that have very firm creases in their ribbon drapes, I presume are the result of being stored for extended periods of time.

 

My question I would like to ask others to field is:

 

Is there a safe way to iron out the folds, or should I replace them completely?.

 

Additionally, and as a follow-up question:

 

I have a medal (very old) which has a ribbon drape that is disintegrating. Is there a benefit to preserve it as it is? And, if so, how best should I preserve it?

 

 

Side note: Please be assured, I store all medals flat in clean Riker Mounts.

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Marko

Can you shoot some pics for a baseline of the severity? IMO, and I have done this in the past without issue, if you feel compelled to lose the creasing, you can carefully remove the planchet from the drape and lightly iron the crease out....again, its a matter of preference. You may risk damage to the creased portion since it has ha\d a huge amount of stress on the material.

 

As for the deteriorating ribbon, again, if you want it to be pristine you can change it...or you can remove the ribbon and display the planchet alone. I am not well versed in replacing suspension ribbons, so I tend to leave them alone particularly for older more significant pieces. If I have a medal that is just an type example, I will fix it or have a buddy replace it who is more expert than me.

 

OR you can leave the deteriorating one and ensure you do not handle it unless absolutely necessary (depending on the severity). I have a few that I just don't touch for that reason, It maintains the historical character of the medal IMO so I err on the side of character and caution

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If you are talking vintage ribbons, I would recommend that you NOT take them apart or replace them. 20 years ago, collectors re-ribboned medals willy-nilly and it didn't seem like anyone cared. Today, a ratty, frayed and stained original ribbon is preferred even to the nicest re-ribboned example. My honest advice for you is to buy the medals that fit your criteria and sell off the ones that don't.

 

As an aside- old ribbon usually has a gorgeous moire pattern to it. Applying water or steam will take the moire right out of the ribbon. Also, there are some ribbons where the color will bleed when wet. I would seriously recommend that you DO NOT try to "fix" them unless you really know what you are doing.

 

My two cents,

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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Allan and Tony have given you some great options and sound advice. A more expensive route would be to buy another similar medal and swap out the ribbon and brooch assemblies or if you are lucky and find an orphan ribbon and brooch. The problem with this option is the cost and finding the correct one. For example you may not want to put a 1930's contract ribbon and brooch on an early 1900's issued medal.

 

If you do decide to iron your ribbons be careful, once damage is done it normally can't be reversed.

 

Post some pictures if you get a chance. Perhaps you are being overly critical. Good Luck.

 

Semper Fi,

Bruce Linz

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Sorry for the delay. Here are pics of the creased ribbon on a medal.post-152646-0-02249500-1409917375.jpgpost-152646-0-61432600-1409917375.jpg

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Hello Mark,

 

I'm in total agreement, it is always best to leave the original ribbon, even if badly damaged, in place on the medal. The only time I personally consider a replacement ribbon drape is when it is completely missing. In the rare instances where that has happened to me I always tag the medal as having a replacement drape.

 

I have had several pieces like yours with some bad creasing. What I've done (and it worked well for me, is to cut a piece of thick cardboard that will cover the crease. Thick enough that it will clear the planchet. Place the medal on a hard surface, then place the cardboard on the crease, smoothing the crease flat under pressure using your fingers. Then pile a stack of very heavy books on it and leave if for a month or two. After some time has passed you remove the books, discard the cardboard and the crease is either totally gone, or way less distracting.

 

It's a non-invasive technique that incurs little risk of damaging anything.

 

Hope this helps!

Best wishes,

 

Joe

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Mark,

This medal really doesn't have any serious issues as far as I am concerned. I would suggest that you put the medal in a Riker mount after making sure that the ribbon is laying flat and the way that you want it to look. Come back and look at it in a month and I think that the ribbon will be back to normal. The ribbon doesn't look creased to me, just has a little misshaping to it. This ought to go away with some time in the mount.

 

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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That's a really common issue with modern USMC Good Conducts...I found the one I was awarded 7 years ago recently in a box...same thing. And also on a couple of others I've owned. I'm with Allan on that, nice and flat in the case for a while should straighten it out

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