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Header, Header Bar

Header, Header Bar.  The top portion of a multielement medal or badge, usually the portion with the pinback or other fastener from which all other elements are suspended. The header bar contains some means from which other elements are suspended, as one or more loops, or a ribbon fob. The header is generally in horizontal format, but it can be any size or shape; it is often highly decorated and silhouetted. It is designed to supplement the theme of the medal or badge, customarily a pendant medal. Headers can be struck or cast, can be solid or thin struck as a shell; since the item is intended to be worn, shell headers have the advantage of lesser weight.

Headers are quite versatile in that they can be customized, either by some means of displaying a nametag for each badge, or by its inscription for several classes (as each official can have a header inscribed with his title). But the two most important functions of a header is to provide a means of attachment to a garment – usually by stem and clasp – and by the top element from which all other components are suspended.

The pendant medal can be suspended from the header or header bar by means of a jump ring connecting loops on both items. Or the pendant can be connected by chain. Or the header may support a ribbon, alone or from which the pendant is suspended, or in back of the pendant suspension. The design of medals, badges and their suspension is quite variable to suit the needs of the occasion.

Some headers are stock designs, suitable for many uses. Others are custom designed only for one use, highly decorated and embellished with designs appropriate to the event requiring the medal or badge. Most headers have the name of their maker on the reverse, a maker’s mark, symbol or logo. Some headers support drops in addition to other suspended elements.

Often, years later, the header may become separated from the remainder of the item. This occurs when, perhaps, the chain or jump ring breaks, or the ribbon wears and breaks away. Such separate headers have come on the secondary market in this fashion.

Should a header not be used for a multielement medal or badge, particularly one with a ribbon, the fastener can be hidden behind the ribbon with a concealed bar.

See suspension.

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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