Rare WWI Purple Heart Number 164 Awarded for Merit


A Purple Heart decoration that was produced in 1932 by Bailey, Banks & Biddle. This particular decoration has a split brooch and is numbered on the edge “164”. It is officially hand engraved to the recipient, John Q. MacDonald.
During World War I MacDonald was an Army Major in the Ordnance Department and served with the American Expeditionary Force in France. On May 7, 1919, General John Pershing, as Commander in Chief of the AEF, awarded Major MacDonald a Meritorious Service Citation Certificate: “For exceptionally meritorious and conspicuous services at Tours, France, American Expeditionary Forces, in testimony thereof, and as an expression of appreciation of these services, I award him this citation.” Major MacDonald was recognized for “services in connection with the procurement, inspection and prompt delivery of ordnance material.”
When the Purple Heart decoration was created in 1932, it was intended to be awarded to those soldiers and officers who had demonstrated “Military Merit”, and it was determined by the War Department that a solider who had been wounded in action had automatically demonstrated “merit.” Thus, the large majority of Purple Hearts that were awarded after the 1932 establishment of the decoration went to service personnel who had been wounded during combat. However, the War Department decided that the receipt of a Meritorious Service Citation Certificate from General Pershing was also grounds for the award of a Purple Heart, and so it was with this decoration to Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) MacDonald. He was awarded the Purple Heart on March 14, 1932.
Additionally, Major MacDonald’s services in prosecuting the allied war effort during World War I were so significant that he was awarded the Order of the Black Star, Knight Degree (“Ordre de l’Etoile Noir, Chevalier) by the government of France.
The Purple Heart decoration is in excellent condition, with only minor wear to the ribbon on the front folds, and at the upper edges of the ribbon where it passes over the top of the brooch.


Item Number: 12492 Category: