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The WWI Victory Medal Series - Portugal

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Military Medals170 of 219Military medal collectingKansas 1917 - 1918 World War Metal
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Posted 3 years ago

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Chrisnp
(165 items)

Portugal entered the war when it seized 72 German merchant ships that were in Portuguese harbors at the start of the war, at the request of Great Britain. Germany responded by declaring war on Portugal. Portugal had to defend against German attacks on her colonies, Angola and Mozambique. It also fielded a corps of about 40,000 men in France, most notably defending against the German Lys offensive in April 1918.

This Victory Medal was designed by Joao da Silva, a renowned Portuguese sculptor of the era. Here I think winged Victory has a modernist look. Instead of “The Great War for Civilization,” this medal simply reads “MEDALHA DA VITORIA” or “Victory Medal”, and also omits the names of the allied nations. Approximately 100,000 of these medals were issued.

The medal to the left in the first photo and in the second and third photos appears to be an official issue. I say “appears” because the detail on the row of war crosses on back in photo three and the way they crowd into the outside edge of the medal doesn’t seem quite right to me. If it’s not original, it’s a pretty good copy. The one on the right in the first photo is a contemporary unofficial version produced by Casa Buttuller of Lisbon, identifiable by the narrow cylinder instead of a ball suspension, as well as differences in detail. The ribbons should be laced through a decorative bronze buckle, common to Portuguese medals of the time. Unfortunately, both these ribbons are replacements. In the last picture is a cheap reproduction, but it shows how the buckle should look. The star in the middle of the buckle indicates the recipient served in combat. The medal beside it is a mystery to me. It’s got beautiful crisp detail, but its silver instead of bronze!

* * * * * * * * * *

Nations that produced Victory Medals that are not (yet) in my collection:

Philippines: approx. 6,000 issued. Although the Philippine Constabulary seized and interned 22 German ships, the US War Department denied them the US Victory Medal (The Philippines then being a US possession), so they created their own.

Brazil: approx. 2,500 issued. When German U-boats sunk four Brazilian ships, Brazil declared war. Brazil maintained several field hospitals, a 300 bed military hospital in Paris, and sent two cruisers and four destroyers to patrol the South Atlantic.

Siam: approx. 1,500 issued. When Siam (Thailand) entered the war, its primary objective was to gain international recognition as a fellow sovereign nation. The Siamese Expeditionary Force totaled 1,200 troops and fought in Europe.

Comments

  1. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Thanks again.

    I'll be on the lookout for Philippines, Brazil, and Siam! What kind of price should they bring?

    Scott
  2. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 3 years ago
    I’m laughing here. One of the nice things about the victory medal series is they aren’t insanely expensive (“insane” and “expensive” being relative terms). I haven’t been pricing them recently, but I remember an original Siamese Victory medal going for about $1000 three or four years ago, and thinking I’d never be able to justify spending that much on one bronze medal to complete my collection. Just off the top of my head, I’d guess the Brazilian one might be three or four hundred bucks cheaper. I’d have to do some research to be sure. I’ve always been about hunting for bargains, and finding stuff other people don’t recognize, but for those two I may have save all my pennies and go the “reputable dealer” route. Those medals are just not going to pop up at a garage sale. Besides, both Brazil and Siam are heavily copied, and I’d hate to spend that kind of money and be duped. I did find a Philippines Victory that was completely misidentified on eBay, and thought I’d be able to win it before anyone else who knew what it was could find it, but a couple people did, and it spiraled past what I had in my budget at the time…I think past $300. The nice thing about the Philippines victory is not everyone counts it as a true victory medal since the Philippines wasn’t an independent nation at the time (so it would be categorized like the state and city WWI commemorative medals) so to my knowledge it hasn’t been copied.
  3. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 3 years ago
    Thanks Kevin

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