The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 29, July 8, 2012, Article 8


David Ganz forwarded a note including an excerpt from one of the legal opinions on the legality of buying or selling certain items such as the Medal of Honor: "Congress long ago made it a federal offense for anyone to wear, manufacture, or sell certain military decorations without authorization. See Act of Feb. 24, 1923, ch. 110, 42 Stat. 1286 (codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. ยง 704(a))"

There was a lot more to it, and I didn't feel any more enlightened after reading it. But between the above snippet, Dick Johnson's statement and the other article quoted last week, I conclude that these trades are still indeed illegal. -Editor

Andy Singer writes:

Right after reading last week's newsletter I opened an email from Noble Numismatics. A Medal of Honor was third from the bottom of the list of highlights of their Sale 100 catalogue.

Thanks. Here's an excerpt of the lot description. Great item! But unfortunately, illegal for U.S. citizens to buy or sell. -Editor

Medal of Homor awarded 1864 Medal of Homor awarded 1864 reverse

Lot 2417 USA, MEDAL OF HONOR (TYPE II) (1896-1904), reverse engraved, 'The Congress/to/1st Lt. Samuel B. Horne./Co.F.11th.Conn.Inf./for GALLANTRY at/Fort Harrison, Va./Sept.29./1864.' In original embossed case by Wm. Wilson & Son, Philadelphia, case hinge missing, with original breast and neck ribbon, both ribbons worn, medal extremely fine. Estimate$14,000

Medal for an action in 1864 but not awarded until 19 November 1897.

Samuel Horne, writing under the letterhead of 'Peck & Horne, Counselors at Law and Solicitors in Chancery of Grand Rapids, Michigan' on April 5th 1870 commenced a claim for compensation in respect of his Civil War service as he had not been correctly recorded as Captain nor paid in recognition of his promotion to the rank of Captain. His rank was officially corrected under Special Order No.282, Headquarters of the Army December 9, 1885. The financial reimbursement for such rank was rectified in the 54th Congress by a Bill H.R.7696 in House of Representatives on March 27, 1896 and S.2720 in the Senate on April 2, 1896.

In Deeds of Valor, p433 it states, 'With two dangerous wounds in his body Lieutenant Samuel B. Horne, of Company H, Eleventh Connecticut Infantry, was carried off the field at Cold Harbor, Va., June 3, 1864, and sent to a hospital. Though his recovery proceeded slowly, he could not bear to be confined to his bed and three months later returned to his regiment, though still an invalid. Ten days later, at Chapin's Farm, Va., September 29, 1864, he won his medal by a display of courage almost superhuman.'

This 'superhuman display of courage' was probably one of the factors why after investigating the claim, Horne received a letter from the Secretary of War dated November 4, 1897 which stated, 'You are hereby notified that by direction of the President and under provisions of the Act of Congress approved March 3, 1863, providing for the presentation of medals of honor to such officers, non-commissioned officers and privates as have most distinguished themselves in action, a Congressional Medal of Honor has this day been presented to you for Most Distinguished Gallantry in Action, the following being a statement of the particular service, viz:

'At Fort Harrison, Va., September 29th, 1864, this officer, then serving as First Lieutenant 11th Connecticut Volunteers, and acting as aide-de-camp to General Ord, while carrying an important message on the field was wounded and his horse killed; but not withstanding his severe wounds and sufferings, he continued on his way, delivered the order, and then joined his General but had to be taken to the rear on account of injuries received.' The medal will be forwarded by registered mail, as soon as it shall have been engraved.' In fact it was sent on November 19 and received by Horne on November 23, 1897.

On January 31, 1908 the War Department advised Horne that he was to be issued with another Medal of Honor of the new design to be engraved, 'The Congress/to/Captain/Samuel B.Horne,/Co.H,11th Conn.Inf.Vols./Fort Harrison, Va.,/Sept.29,1864.' The new medal was sent to him on February 21, 1908 and received on March 2, 1908.

To view the original lot description, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: IS IT STILL ILLEGAL TO BUY AND SELL MEDALS OF HONOR? (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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