The United States banned collecting of military medals on December 20, 2006. It's illegal to purchase, sell, mail, ship, import, or export any service medal, badge, ribbon, or imitation.
A long article by David Hewett in the March issue of Maine Antique Digest covers the law and the response in the medal collecting community.
The anti-collecting law was part of the Stolen Valor Act, an attempt to ban the practice of fraudulently wearing unearned medals. The anti-collecting provisions were the result of over-zealous bill-writing. The article says the Orders and Medals Society of America (OMSA) had its members contact their representatives, which was almost successful -- there were promises of changing the wording of the bill to allow collectors and museums to continue acquiring the pieces. Unfortunately the law passed with the original anti-collector anti-museum wording.
The OMSA website carries further details.
I am surprised that this law was proposed, debated, and passed without my knowledge. I first learned of it this morning!
I do not support con men wearing imitation Purple Hearts but it should be legal for a soldier or heir to donate medals to the local history museum and send them the medal to the museum through the US mail. It should be legal to make and sell replica medals to Hollywood directors making war movies. Schools where they train engravers to make future medals should be able to obtain representative styles of medals. Why not just keep capitalism legal, and ban merely the practice of wearing a medal with intent to deceive?
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