The Selling of Military Awards and Medals

The selling of military awards and medals.

Should the selling of military awards and medals be legal? Is it currently legal? These are great questions with a multitude of answers and opinions.

I get the opportunity to write this article from a unique perspective. First off, I am a veteran. Secondly, I am a picker, someone who buys and sells antiques online and offline. I buy and sell many different types of collectible things to include vintage clothing, jewelry, military items, books, postcards and more.

I hope to provide a fresh perspective to this interesting topic.

Soldiers LOVE Their Medals

First and foremost, soldiers take pride in the awards and medals they earned and received. They are prized possessions for most soldiers. I personally have never met ANY current or former soldier who would depart with their military awards. There might be a few out there who would; I’ve just never met any of these folks.

Talk to any elderly veteran in their 80’s or 90’s, and they still cherish EVERY military award they’ve received, no matter how small.

Complications

Where things get complicated is when people die. Unfortunately, not all family members are passionate about keeping family keepsakes. What might have been vitally important to Uncle Joe might be absolutely meaningless to the grandchildren who inherit his estate when he dies.

If he’s lucky, his grandchildren are sentimental and will keep his awards and display them, but it’s not normally the case. In many cases, when someone inherits an estate they actually THROW OUT many of these things, sell them at a yard sale, or donate them to a Goodwill or charity. Sad, but true.

Selling of Military Awards and Medals

The Selling of Military Awards and Medals: Legality

After doing some research online, this is what I found concerning the legality of selling military awards.

It is illegal to buy, sell, barter, or manufacture any decorations or medals authorized by Congress for the United States armed forces.
In General.— Whoever knowingly purchases, attempts to purchase, solicits for purchase, mails, ships, imports, exports, produces blank certificates of receipt for, manufactures, sells, attempts to sell, advertises for sale, trades, barters, or exchanges for anything of value any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States, or any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, or the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration or medal, or any colorable imitation thereof, except when authorized under regulations made pursuant to law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
Title 18 U.S. Code § 704 (Public Law 113-296).
To me, this law is a little bit confusing, because if you visit eBay, any auction, military surplus store, thrift store, or yard sale, you will normally find some type of military awards for sale.

Selling on eBay

When I visited eBay just now, and typed in military medals, I came up with 10,772 military medals listed for sale. When I went to completed listings, I noticed that 4,060 military medals have been sold during the past 90-days. This information is as of June 14, 2019 at 3:30 pm EST.

Out of curiosity, I Googled eBay’s policies on selling military items, and this is what I found.

The medals you can’t sell on eBay are specifically spelled out in the Government IDs and Licenses Policy :

Here’s eBay’s statement in that policy on military medals:

Not Allowed:

Government-issued medals and certificates for medals, including the Air Force Cross, Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Purple Heart, or Silver Star. This also applies to a medal’s associated buttons, ribbons, or rosettes.

Source

From the sounds of it, you can sell any other military medal, as long as it is not listed above as a prohibited item.

My Two Cents

I personally believe someone should have the right to sell military awards and medals online, especially if they earned them or if the recipient of that award is deceased, or if the medal is no longer wanted. If I received a medal from the government for something I did, I would consider the medal MY PROPERTY.

I also don’t see a problem with letting COLLECTORS purchase these military medals. As long as the person is not WEARING the medals, and claiming they earned them, I think it should be allowed.

After all, why not let the military medal or award go to a good home, where it is wanted and be can preserved and enjoyed? I think that’s a lot better option than throwing the medal away like a piece of trash.

The only exception, in my opinion, should be if the items were stolen.

More than 3,450 men have been awarded the Medal of Honor

Final Thoughts

There you have it folks. These are my thoughts, plus what I could find online about selling military awards and medals. What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with me? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

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AuthorChuck Holmes

Chuck Holmes is a former Army Major and combat veteran. Chuck is a successful blogger, author and entrepreneur. He lives in sunny Florida with his wife, Rachel.

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