Medal of Honor, Army (1904-1944)


SKU: 02.USA.0100.101.01.003

Estimated market value:

$5000+ USD

  • Decoration (1904-1944) Obverse
  • Decoration (1904-1944) Reverse

Estimated market value:

$5000+ USD


  • Country
    United States
  • Composition
    Silvered Bronze/ Gilt/ Enamelled
  • Inscription
  • Size
  • Version Remarks
    This version was designed by General George Lewis Gillespie to distinguished the Decoration from other awards. It is uncertain if this version was issued until 1944 or 1917 (when a small ring suspension was introduced).


The Congressional Medal of Honor was established by President Abraham Lincoln on July 12, 1862. The Decoration was originally created to reward enlisted men for acts of gallantry in action. The Congressional Medal of Honor for individuals in the Army is one of three types of this award and is the highest military award for bravery. The award is normally presented by the President of the United States on behalf of Congress and is thus often referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor.

In 1863, the Decoration was extended to Officers and was made retroactive to reward service dating back to the beginning of the Civil War. The eligibility requirements of the Decoration have been restricted over time. During the First and Second World Wars, the award was won for self-sacrifice in combat with an enemy of the Nation. Since 1918, the award of the Decoration was made only upon incontestable proof (of two eyewitnesses) of acts of heroism which goes above and beyond the call of duty, involves the risk of personal life, and which clearly distinguishes the recipient from their comrades. Citizens of the United States and some foreigners who are members of the United States Army are eligible for the award. It is estimated that over 3,500 Medals of Honor have been issued since its institution date, with only 1 woman ever being presented with the Army Medal of Honor.

The Medal of Honor may also be awarded posthumously.

Oakleaf clasps may be worn on the ribbon to denote additional awards and a rosette may be worn on the ribbon when the ribbon is worn alone. When the ribbon is the sole decoration worn, a distinct ribbon with 5 white stars in shape of an “M” is worn during situations other than full dress uniform.

There are multiple versions of the Army Medal of Honor which vary by design, size, and composition. From its inception until 1896, the Decoration was issued with a ribbon resembling the American flag. From 1862 until 1904, the Decoration featured a ribbon with a central white stripe flanked by wide blue and red stripes. In 1904, the design of the Decoration was altered to incorporate the inscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and a new obverse design. A new ribbon depicting 3 stars on a sky blue ribbon was introduced and this version featured a suspension bar inscribed with the word "VALOR" surmounted by an eagle. In 1917, a ring was added to the back of the brooch so that the award could be worn from a neck ribbon. Since 1944, the Decoration has been permanently suspended from a neck ribbon which features a field of 13 stars sewn to the cravat. In 1963, a larger cravat pad was introduced.

Unnamed versions of the Decoration may be encountered.

There may be additional versions of the Medal which vary by composition.

Recipients of the Medal of Honor are entitled to, among other privileges, a $1,259 pension, which is subject to increases in the cost of living wages, and a 10% increase in retired pay.


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