Dead Man's Penny

26th March 2016

It is strange to think why someone would collect another person's awards and medals. Why collect something so personal that commemorates another's achievements? Especially when the another in question is often unknown to the purchaser. But then collectors are driven to collect almost anything at all and some specialise on very narrow fields within fields and if the item is right then the price really doesn't matter. Perhaps most strange of all is the collecting of medals commemorating death.

If we look at the WW1 death plaque (often referred to as The Dead Man's Penny) which were awarded to the surviving members of the family of a deceased soldier in the First World War, of which some 1.355 million were awarded, we can see the prices realised vary dramatically. Collectors will pay more for sought after regiments, battles, wars, boats served on, names, specific achievements, completeness, condition and most of all rarity.

Sold on its own we typically see the Death Penny make £30-50, add the accompanying scroll and £40-60 is more likely, add accompanying WW1 medals and £60-100 will be achieved, complete it further with pertaining ephemera to help sell the story and £80-120 it is, be it to a Royal Scot or other highly collected regiment then £100-150 can be expected, and perhaps, best of all, be it to one of the 600 fallen females then expect it to well exceed £2,000.

Each medal has its story. Each has its value to a collector. The only question is how much?