Mounting Medals Properly

November 18, 2014 by Legion Magazine

Once a person has received more than one medal from the military or the government of Canada, there is a need to have them properly mounted for wearing.

There are two ways of mounting medals—swing mounting or court mounting.

“After the First World War, almost all mounting was swing mounting,” said Andrew Greenham of the Ivan Greenham Medals Department of Forest City Coins and Stamps Ltd. in London, Ont. “You saw some court mounting after the Second World War, but it was after the Korea War when the government thought that court mounting was the way to do it.”

Swing mounting is when a medal is suspended by its ribbon from a brooch pin. Several medals can be attached to a long brooch pin. The medals tend to swing when the person wearing the medals is walking. Damage can sometimes be done to the medals as they contact each other while they are swinging.

Court mounting is when the ribbon is stretched over a stiff mounting board with a medal bar brooch at the top. The medals are tied down and do not move when the person walks.

For military and government medals, no more than five medals should be worn side by side without overlapping. Where six or more medals are worn, the medal at the left of the bar should be placed first and the remainder of the ribbons placed so that they overlap equally the medal on the right. The senior medal remains in full view.

The order of precedence can be found on the Governor General’s website at www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=14979&lan=eng.

The length of the ribbon varies because of the difference in the height of the individual stars, medals and decorations. The overall length measured from the top of the ribbon to the bottom edge of the medals should be four inches. The bottom edge of all medals should form a straight line. Clasps on campaign star ribbons are to be worn one half inch above the right for the star. The Dieppe Bar for the Hong Kong bar should be worn on the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal above the overseas clasp on the ribbon.

Another decision the bearer has to make is whether or not to have the medals plated. The gold medals are plated with bronze and silver medals are plated with nickel since silver will tarnish. “If the owner has any intention in selling the medal, we tell them that having the medal plated will lower the price. However, most say they will never sell their medals,” said Greenham.

“Most of the medals we get are from the veterans themselves,” said Greenham. “Of course, there are no more First World War veterans and the Second World War veterans are fewer and fewer.”

Forest City Coins was started by Andrew’s father Keith Greenham.  Andrew’s grandfather, Ivan Greenham, established the medals department after his career with the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.


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