WWII US Navy Purple Heart - Type 1

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Original World War Two US Navy Type One Purple Heart.

A wonderfully patina’d US Navy Type 1 Purple Heart (unnamed).

“While the Army had been producing Purple Hearts since 1932, the Navy Department did not start production until 1943. On December 9, 1942, the Navy was authorized to award the Purple Heart; however, the Navy had no Purple Hearts in inventory. The week before Christmas, the Navy made an official requisition to the director of the U.S. Mint for 135,000 Purple Hearts, using the same 1932 Army pattern for the medal and brooch. Instead of toned bronze, the Navy requested the use of gold-plated sterling silver, as bronze was considered a vital war materiel.
In addition to the material used for the Purple Heart, the Navy also approved the use of plastic for the heart material behind George Washington’s head. This was considered an improvement over the enameled or painted versions used by the Army at that time. Rayon was also substituted for the silk ribbon material used for the Army’s Purple Hearts. Finally, due to manufacturing difficulties, the red-and-white coat of arms shield was made a separate piece, added during the finishing of the medal. This variation was later adapted by the Army in their Type Ill Purple Hearts.”
- David A Schwind, 2023, Sacrifice Remembered: Posthumous Awards of the Purple Heart Medal in the Second World War, Medals Press.

Collections: All Items, Awards & Medals, United States, World War Two Tags: Medals, USA, WWII