In the intricate realm of war medal collecting, the Victorian era presents a unique challenge. Condition, unit, rank, and historical action are the keystones of value. The first checkpoint for a collector is the ‘coin-like’ definition, ensuring the sharpness of detail, followed by the verification of correct and precise naming on the medal.
As time marches on, complete collections of Victorian medals become rarer, a scarcity compounded by the practices of yesteryear’s collectors who often sought one of each type, leading to the fragmentation of original groups.
Today, a complete ‘grouping’—a soldier’s full entitlement of medals—holds a premium over individual pieces. The Queen’s South Africa Medal, awarded for service in the Boer War, exemplifies this with its three clasps, including the seldom-seen ‘Laing’s Nek’. Notably, it marks one of the rare instances where British Regimental colours were lost in battle—the first being at Isandlwana, another poignant moment in South Africa’s martial history.
For collectors, such a group represents more than metal and ribbon; it symbolizes the full narrative of a soldier’s service, making it a coveted and valuable addition to any collection.