For the budding medal collector, the Four-Bar Crimea War Medal represents not just a piece of history but a lesson in the nuances of military memorabilia. Awarded to British forces for their valour in the Crimean War (1853-1856), this medal is very distinctive, particularly when it features the maximum four clasps – Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman, and Sebastopol, each denoting involvement in critical battles.
A unique aspect of these medals is the variation in the ‘ALMA’ bar, attributed to the fact that some clasps were produced by French manufacturers and subsequently issued to British recipients. This detail is common and does not detract from the medal’s authenticity; rather, it adds a layer of interest for collectors.
Initially issued unnamed, recipients could later have their medals inscribed with their names. This engraving could be done professionally or, in some instances, regimentally impressed. For collectors, the value increases significantly for pieces with regimental impressions due to their official and traceable nature.
When collecting, be mindful of the naming. Unnamed medals may have been privately named. While this personalises the item, from a collector’s standpoint, the regimentally impressed naming holds more historical value and is a sought-after feature. Each medal tells a story, and the depth of that story can be partly inferred from these intricate details.