Here is an interesting group of medals that I stumbled across a few nights ago during my usual late night web surfing. BTW...I have already secured the group, so if you find it on the web, it is too late...
What is most interesting about the group is the presence of what is known as the 'First pattern' or French version of the DSC, which is heavily adorned with oak leaves on the arms. There is much controversy amongst some collectors, and some feel that they are either fake or were mass produced for the AEF service members for purchase.
My opinion is that they are NOT fake, they may have perhaps been available for purchase, but definitely of the period. I say this because I have observed this type of cross in two or tree other grouping that were either obtained directly from the family or were found at the residence of the recipient at estate sales after they passed away. In addition, a friend whom is very knowledgeable told me that the 82nd Abn. Museum had one of these in the display for Sgt York back in the 1960's. So for me, the case is closed on the legitimacy of this design; sometimes common sense and evidence at hand is a better judge of legitimacy than speculation.
In this case, these medals were obtained at a house sale in Springfield, Mass. Through a little checking, I confirmed that while there were other DSC recipients from Springfield, only one was made to an officer from Springfield. That officer was Julius W. Toelken of 140 Union Street, Springfield, MA. Lt. Toelken is confirmed as being a 2nd. Lt., 104th Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Div., having the above address listed as his residence prior to entry into the AEF.
Included in the group are the following:
DSC Award case (which I believe is French made)
DSC ribbon bar (**appears to be French version)
French made DSC
Croix de Guerre ribbon bar W/star (** as above)
Croix de Guerre W/Star
US Victory Medal W/5 sector clasps - all of which are attributed (authorized) for the 26th.
American Legion lapel pin
"US" officer collar insignia
All items show exactly the same amount of wear and there are no inconsistencies in the presence of any of the items.
An interesting note concerning the DSC...it was created on July 9, 1918. Lt. Toelkens date of action for award is listed as July 20, 1918. What I am getting at here is that one would not expect US versions of the award to be readily available to the AEF 11 days after creation. So, the need for the authorized medal was filled by the local establishments as in the case of wings, insignia and uniforms as well during that time...why should the DSC be any different? As a side note, there is also a French version of the US Victory Medal that has been found in other groupings as well.
Lt. Toelken's official citation for award of the DSC:
TOELKEN, JULIUS W.
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army
104th Infantry Regiment, 26th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: July 20, 1918
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Julius W. Toelken, Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Bouresches, France, July 20, 1918. When the advance of his platoon was checked by enemy machine-gun fire Second Lieutenant Toelken crawled forward alone to a position from which he could fire and killed three of the machine-gun crew, after which, with his platoon, he captured the gun and turned it on the foe.
General Orders No. No. 125, W.D., 1918
Home Town: Springfield, MA
I have some other information as well, but will withhold until I actually get the set in my hands.
I am posting two photos from the site from which I obtained it. I will of course post detailed individual shots of each piece when it arrives.
Thoughts, opinions, accolades, and criticisms welcomed...