Miniature medals are half size versions of medals worn with mess dress and at evening functions, they are normally exact copies of the larger medal, this example is a miniature version of the Defence Medal we looked at here:The obverse has the head of King George VI:The difference in size is most apparent when placed next to the regular sized medal:The medals are die stamped and of a good quality, but lack any naming seen on the full size versions. The current guidance on miniature medals (for the Royal Navy at least) is:
- Miniature Medals
- These are half the size of the insignia, which they represent and on ribands 29mm long, are worn in the same manner as full-sized medals.
- With some exceptions, as detailed in JSP 761, miniatures of all badges of orders and decorations are worn with miniature medals.
- Except as in sub para d, miniature medals are worn with number 2A/2B Mess Dress/Undress on the lapel of the mess jacket. They may extend over the lapel towards the shoulder but not beyond the lapel on the inner side. The position on RM officers’ mess jackets is: Colonels and above, 102mm below the neck point of the shoulder seam; other officers 19mm below the Globe and laurel badge. Until replaced by the new mess dress the officers’ capes should be level with the top of the rank badge.
The Army regulations offer further guidance on mounting miniature medals:
- Miniature Medals. Miniature medals may be worn court mounted or in an ordinary style. In both instances, medals are to be suspended from ribands of a width of 16mm. The length of the brooch should not normally exceed 14.7cm i.e. nine miniatures not overlapped but a larger number of miniatures may necessitate a longer brooch to avoid overlapping. If the number of miniatures can not be sensibly fitted to a longer brooch, then miniatures may be overlapped. At no time should more than two-thirds of any ribbon be covered by another; the overlap of each ribbon should be equal. When court mounted, the medal is suspended from a ribbon so as to allow the centre of a round Medal to be cut in half by the backing, ie the nose of the impression of a sovereign’s head on a Medal should rest on the bottom edge of the backing. The bottom edges of miniatures should be aligned and not exceed 57mm from the top of the riband to the lowest point of the miniature. The lengths of each individual riband will consequently vary according to the height of each order badge, decoration and medal. The number of clasps, bars or emblems attached to the riband of any miniature may require that ribands across the whole brooch be of additional length. Sets of miniatures are illustrated at Annex A to Section 3.
The wearing of miniature medals is also commonplace in commonwealth countries, as demonstrated by these Canadian’s from the Calgarry Highlanders and Stormont, Dundass & Glengarry Highlanders who are both wearing miniature medals with their mess dress:There seems to be very little interest in miniature medals from collectors, and as such they are very cheap compared to full size medals, with nice groupings going for a fraction of the price of their full size counterparts.