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Bar.  (2) A strip of metal with name and sometimes a date to be applied to a ribbon of a decoration conferred upon the recipient of that decoration the significance of having merited the same award again or having participated in a campaign named on the bar. Also a suspension device on a ribboned medal appearing at the top and/or bottom of the ribbon and lettered with a distinctive class.

The bar used with decorations is similar to a star, cluster, oak leaf, or palms on some higher class which signifies a further distinction by receiving the medallic award a second or subsequent time.

For a ribboned medal a bar is a further part of the medallic item in which many classes can be easily created and identified; as to indicate such distinctions as:  rank, class, year, campaign, office, official status, membership, post, lodge, or member of a group attending a convention. Such bars are called identification bars. Bars in this sense are a part of the suspension system and often contain a pin or other fastener on the back.  See suspension

Also bars in the later sense can be made to hang from each other with integral loops to accomplish this. Bars are identified by position, as top bar, middle bar and bottom bar (depending upon the location of the loops). Of course, there can only be one each top and bottom bar but any number of middle bars. The convention bars issued by the American Numismatic Association (illustrated) are an example of this.

Bars have a preference or rank in sequence. For military decorations they start at the bottom (next to the pendant medal) and progress upward, as in a sequence of battles, that closest to the medal would be chronologically first, top last. For nonmilitary decorations the top bar is highest rank or chronological first and progress downward.

An incorrect or surreptitious bar of any kind is called a false bar.

0570(003)04,4             Illus: Drawing

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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