MEDAL MOUNTING – What is it?

If medals either originals or replicas are to be worn or displayed these need to be mounted as per the correct “Order of Wear”. This is very precise, specialised and labour intensive work.  Our medal mounters put a lot of heart and effort into our mounting as we know how important and valuable these medals are. Quality is of uppermost importance to us.

Dimensions for Mounted Medal Sets

Width

The width of a medal group (across the chest) is normally dependent on the structure of the wearer and is normally 160 mm for full-size medals and 110 mm for miniature medals. If the number of medals cannot be mounted to the standard width so that the ribbon of every medal is fully exposed, then the medals are overlapped so that the ribbon of the first (senior) medal is fully exposed with the ribbon of each succeeding medal overlapped by an equal amount. Normally for full-size medals, if there are 5 or more medals these need to be overlapped and for miniatures, if it is 9 or more it needs to be overlapped.

If however, there are a large number of medals the width is extended beyond the normal 160 mm as applicable and practical for wear.

The above width does not apply if medals are mounted for display purposes and are not to be worn. In this instance, the width is determined so that, as much of the ribbon as possible exposed.

Length

The length of a medal group (from the top of the ribbon to base of the medal) is 95mm for full-size medals and 57 mm for miniature medals. These dimensions sometimes are exceeded when the physical dimensions of an award or the number of clasps or bars attached to the ribbon of any medal in the group needs additional length, in which case all medals in the group are mounted at the same length.

Mounting Styles

Two styles are used when mounting medals, Court Mounting and Swing Mounting

Court Mounting

Court Mounting is where the ribbons and medals are fixed to a backing board. The backing board (made out of Perspex) is covered with full lengths of the ribbon. The medals with separate ribbon are then affixed to this backing board using wire so that the medals stay rigid and do not swing. A pin is affixed to the rear of the backing board for wear. When the medal group is viewed from the front, the ribbons of the backing board can be easily seen behind the medal between the suspender and the top of the medal. However, approximately only half of the medal can be seen from the reverse due to the backing board.

Court mounting has become the preferred and recommended method of mounting military medals post the Second World War as it prevents damage to the medals by coming into contact with one another, and is especially suitable for medals worn on a regular basis. Court style mounting is mandatory for all medals mounted for serving NZDF personnel.

Swing Mounting

Swing Mounting or Free Style (as it is sometimes called) is where the medals are mounted in such a way that the medals swing freely from a medal bar and are not secured to a backing/mounting board which is seen from the front. When medals are swing mounted both the obverse and the reverse of the medals can be seen. This type of mounting, however, can cause chipping and damage to the medals due to contact with each other.

We can mount your medals in either Court or Swing mounting style and the choice is up to you. Our recommendation and what most of our clients prefer, however, is Court Mounting as it preserves the medals by avoiding damage and is also more visually appealing.

Preparation of Medals and Materials Used for Mounting

We use high-quality materials for preparation and mounting of medals to ensure that your valuable medals are not damaged, do not “fall off on parade” and the colour does not run if you “happen to be in the rain”.

Prior to mounting we clean and polish all the medals with cleaning agents that are suitable for each type of medal. We do not use abrasive cleaners that may damage the medals.

For court mounted medals we use perspex for the backing board which is more durable, weather resistant and capable of bearing the weight of medals when worn without twisting, sagging or any other signs of deformation, unlike cardboard.

We use high-quality brass or nickel plated brooch pins that attach securely to the clothing and do not come undone when worn. All new ribbon fitted to the medals are sourced from reputed ribbon manufacturers in the UK.  The ribbons are attached by using acid-free double sided tape and the brooch clip is affixed with strong clear glue to ensure that the weight of the medals can be borne without falling off when worn.

When court mounting medals we affix the medal to the backing board by using wire that does not detract from the appearance of the medal group. The wiring is done in a manner that it is firm but does not place undue pressure on the medal.

Things We Do Not Do

  • We do not damage the medals or clasps in anyway by:
    • Defacing, cutting, grinding, bending, and marking.
    • Using permanent adhesive, foam pads, or hot glue to permanently secure medals to each other or to the mounting boards.
  • We do not split and remount original sets of medals. The New Zealand Defence Force recommends that medal sets be kept together after the recipient’s death, rather than being distributed among family members. Splitting up the group is said to destroy its value and mana. We do understand the pain of not being the family member entrusted with an original set of medals.  We can however, help alleviate your pain by providing a set of full size or miniature replica medals.