*Picture of George W Studley taken from his book “Regulation War Medals” published by G W Studley, Rochester, NY.
I have in my collection of United States medals a pair of US Nicaraguan Campaign Medals 1912 one of which was possibly made or sold by George Studley of Avon N.Y.
George Studley (1893 – 1968) enlisted in the US Navy in 1909 and served in Cuba, Panama and China. He was discharged from the Navy in 1922 after re enlisting to serve in WW1. After he left the Navy he became a Gold prospector, steeplejack, steel rigger and a coal miner. Whilst being a member of many veterans associations he saw that many of the ribbons worn by veterans were frayed and dirty and set about manufacturing his own ribbons and insignia. After securing permission from the Navy and Army Departments he was authorized to purchase ribbons. Realising the potential for his work amongst fellow veterans he began advertising his services and in April 1928 was authorized to sell his ribbons and insignia along with miniature medals but was not allowed to issue full size medals. His original source for medals were the US Mint, Bailey Banks and Biddle and K C Davidson of Philadelphia. He was also an author writing about Service Medals. His book “Regulation War Medals” is still sought after and he produced ribbon charts. He collected military medals and ribbons in what would eventually become one of the biggest collections in the world. During WW2 he built a business manufacturing medal Ribbons and even supplied General MacArthur with ribbon sets. Studley was given Congressional authorization in April 1928 to sell “articles of military insignia”. He could sell miniature federal US medals but technically not issue full size medals. Congress in 1923 had enacted a law prohibiting the unofficial manufacturing and sale of US medals and awards. One would assume that any medals George Studley manufactured would be those issued prior to 1923?
1912 Nicaraguan Campaign Medal. L: USMC R: Navy.
1912 Nicaraguan Campaign Medal Reverse, Navy & Marine Corp. Navy is possible US Mint re-issue and USMC is I believe Studley Manufactured due to variance in their likeness, weight, suspension ring and their planchett thickness.
George Studley regularly attended medal shows to sell ribbons and medals. He was one of the founding members of the Orders & Medal Society of America and made ribbon sets for General Douglas MacArthur and furnished lapel pins for President Harry S Truman and Dwight D Eisenhower. Medals supplied by George Studley appear on the internet from time to time and are very collectible and command a high price. The original official medals for these early campaigns were issued numbered but replacements were un-numbered when issued to their recipients. There are no markings on these medals to prove they were made by Studley as is often the case. US Mint manufactured medals are usually thicker than say medals by Heckthorn for example but not as thick as these Nicaraguan Service Medals?
Another possible candidate? Yangtze Service (1926 – 1932) with full wrap brooch and very thick un-numbered planchett.
Three more candidates, US Navy Spanish Campaign 1898, US Navy China Relief Expedition 1900 & US Navy Mexican Service Medal 1911-1917.
All 3 with the “For Service” inscription straight instead of curved.
Very thick planchett on all 3 medals.
Haitian Campaign 1919-1920 with straight script “For Service”.
Studley made ribbons and as you can see these are labelled as such, but I have absolutely no idea which service or campaign these were issued for?
Resources for this article were: Orders & Medal Society of America, themedalcollector.com and “The Call of Duty” by Strandberg & Bender.