The centenary commemorations of the outbreak of World War I has invigorated the interest in medals and war memorabilia, so much so that the market for these collectible artefacts, many of which have historical importance, is in a buoyant mood.
This has boosted the value of these valuable souvenirs to an all-time high, and if you are one of the 15 million people in possession of such objects, you could be sitting on a possible treasure chest.
According to new research from the LV= team, three in ten UK residents have some kind of war memorabilia tucked away in their home. The bulk of this, some 93 per cent, have been in the family since the medals were first awarded.
Fascinatingly, one in ten respondents to the poll admitted that they had no idea of the worth of their heirlooms, which is to say they have no idea about how valuable some of these items may be.
If you consider, for example, the fact that the value in collectibles has increased by a whopping 30 per cent since 2009, it’s fair to say that a lot of people are in possession of seriously expensive memorabilia.
LV= also found that many owners underestimate the value of their medals and war artefacts, with one in seven have genuine historic army uniforms and other related clothing.
They tend to estimate these possessions to be worth around £170, yet in all actuality, the average value is £400. In some cases, depending on the rank of the uniform, they can go under the hammer for as much as £1,000.
Another popular type of memorabilia is weapons, with one in eight UK residents owning a type belonging to this category. Again, people fail to appreciate how much these objects are actually worth. The average price assumed is £224, but it can be remarkably more. The Lewis and Vickers machine guns can sell up to £3,000 and £4,000 respectively.
Needless to say, as demand for war memorabilia increases, so too does criminal enterprise – these highly expensive goods can still attract a lot of money on the black market.
If you, or anyone you know, are in possession of medals and war memorabilia, we would love to hear from you. We also suggest you not only get it valued, but consider insuring them.
For example, if you were to find in a dusty box in your loft, a Victoria Cross medal, you could be the owner of an object worth as much as £80,000. Prices vary based on numerous factors like condition, but also the narrative of the item – it may have belonged to a particularly well-known hero.
Do have a rummage around your attic and tell us your own personal stories about your ancestors. The memorabilia may be worth a lot financially, but the exploits, the courage of those that fought in previous conflict, well, they are priceless.