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Author Topic: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?  (Read 6635 times)

Offline Jack's son

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"Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« on: October 18, 2015, 04:08:04 PM »
Truly, what is a rare Purple Heart?

I'm sure that people can argue that ANY Purple Heart is rare, it certainly is to the family members of the recipient. However, as collectors, we quantify the word "Rare" in different ways.
Rare could signify the the earliest of American wars, the number of Purple Hearts awarded for a particular war, or even battle. Then we speak to the recipient of the Heart in question. Perhaps a Medal Of Honor recipient, a high ranking officer, a Chaplin.

Certainly, Revolutionary War Purple Hearts are "Rare".... It's tough to get any more special then the awards that were bestowed for the first time! This is a no brainer. How about Civil War, or Indian Wars Purple Hearts? What about the War On Terror Purple Hearts?

I believe that we as collectors have to break this question down to the basic elements of what we consider rare, then ask...."which type of Purple Heart would we most want in our collection"?

What elements do you consider when you try to describe a Rare Purple Heart? Do you care to add any of your favorite Medals, and their history?
And once by God, I was a Marine!
—Actor Lee Marvin, circa, 1967, about serving in WW II

Offline ScottG

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2015, 08:47:31 PM »
  Truly an interesting question JS. I tend to see the word RARE, on a lot of items that are not... Purple Hearts being just one example. I think to quantify rare, we need to have parameters like you have outlined. How many to a particular war/conflict. Maybe how many per branch in a particular battle ie: A Coast Guard Purple Heart from D-Day vs. and army one... Unfortunately as long as we have dealers we will have embellishments like RARE, or worse.
  Something I ran across a while back that I believe might actually be rare is an Army Commendation Medal awarded to a 501st PIR soldier in WWII. You don't see too many ARCOMS from that early period. Does it add more money? I don't think so, but its kind of cool.  Scott.
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

Offline Tom E. Gunn

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2015, 11:24:39 PM »
I have a question re PH's. I'm not a dedicated medals collector myself, though I do have original examples of pretty much every US medal WW2 > VN...MoH excepted of course! I have a WW2 PH, mint, in its leatherette, velvet lined presentation case. I've heard mention of "numbers" in relation to PHs. Mine has a serial number on its edge...what is the significance of that? Do they all have them or just certain production batches? Thanks.
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Offline M1Ashooter

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2015, 04:57:11 AM »
It is a very interesting question!  Maybe a rare Purple Heart would be from a very limited conflict, like Desert Storm, the Fort Hood shootings, or Just Cause.

Offline Masonk

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2015, 06:34:39 AM »
I have a question re PH's. I'm not a dedicated medals collector myself, though I do have original examples of pretty much every US medal WW2 > VN...MoH excepted of course! I have a WW2 PH, mint, in its leatherette, velvet lined presentation case. I've heard mention of "numbers" in relation to PHs. Mine has a serial number on its edge...what is the significance of that? Do they all have them or just certain production batches? Thanks.

Ian,
Earlier Purple Heart's were numbered on the Rim; those manufactured 1932-1943. The brooch type along with the numbering can help determine age, and in some cases, manufacturer.

For example, Split-wrap brooch Purple Hearts that are numbered, were manufactured during the period of 1932-1940. These were awarded for pre-war merit (WWI, SPANAM War, Indian Wars, Civil War and Pre-US involvement WWII Conflicts). These medals are typically found engraved, and the numbering on the medal, can be traced back to the GO card for the award (range is typically within 1000)

Those with a slot-brooch or bent slot-brooch, that are numbered, were manufactured between 1939-1943. These, however, can be found issued for pre-WWII service through Post-WWII service. Not all are named, unless warranted. And not all are traceable, unless you get lucky. These are typically found with either an enamel heart insert, or plastic. Enamel would be found on earlier examples; plastic on later (this was continued to be used on Purple Hearts manufactured today). Depnding on the number range, you can determine the manufacturer; Robbins, Rex Products or Medal Arts (bent slot-brooch).

If you want to read further, check out Tom Nier's site at, http://www.purplehearts.net/id6.html. I'm basically regurgitating everything I've learned from reading over his site numerous times!
Eric
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Offline Tom E. Gunn

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2015, 08:07:41 AM »
Thanks Eric. I don't have a pic at the moment, but the number on my medal's rim is 378578.
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Offline Masonk

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2015, 10:48:31 AM »
Thanks Eric. I don't have a pic at the moment, but the number on my medal's rim is 378578.

This would fall in the number range of those manufactured by Rex Products Company (100,000-400,000).

Eric
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Offline Tom E. Gunn

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2015, 11:02:08 AM »
Thank you Eric...what would be the approximate time scale for those?
"He who dares, wins!"

Offline Masonk

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2015, 11:03:23 AM »
Anywhere from 1942-1943
Eric
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Offline Tom E. Gunn

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2015, 11:08:01 AM »
Thanks Eric...nice to have its date confirmed.
"He who dares, wins!"

Offline littlebuddy

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2015, 12:12:50 PM »
The only purple heart i would have liked to own is where it belongs , with the next of kin , the Waters family  :)

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Offline USMCR79

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2016, 01:30:04 PM »
To me rarity like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The collecting experience especially if you have been collecting for a long time leaves some of us "jaded" - it takes a lot to get us excited.

My .002

Bill

Offline RoyA

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2016, 02:11:23 PM »
I've always considered the rarity tied to the individual/unit/action.

For example, a PH to a First Special Service Force member wounded at La Difensa would be extremely rare, because that's something you just can't find.

Offline Kohima

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2016, 02:59:05 PM »
Purple Hearts awarded for actions prior to WW1 range from very scarce to very rare.


K
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Offline Jack's son

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Re: "Rare Purple Heart"....What Does That Mean?
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2016, 05:53:48 PM »
Purple Hearts awarded for actions prior to WW1 range from very scarce to very rare.
K

With Kohima's comment in mind......this is a VERY RARE Purple Heart.

IW-David L Brainard. There are only two known IW Purple Hearts today. One is at the Little Big Horn Memorial, the other is is my personal collection.
And once by God, I was a Marine!
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