Sailors in the early days were sometimes awarded their medals in a formal presentation on board ship or back at their home port. But often Medals of Honor came via US Post and sometimes they would arrive many years or even decades later.
When an announcement was made by the government that the president had awarded the medal, the announcement would be in a form of a General Order, with a specific number and date. Sometimes these very orders directed that formal presentations be made and the exact circumstance be read aloud as to the bravery of the individuals being recognized. Sometimes the very orders say that while the medal has been approved, it was up to the individual to actually apply to get it, and this would be passed up the line of command till finally getting to Washington DC where it would then be sent off.
Medals would usual come in a presentation box as seen here. I have seen some with the individual's name printed right on the front of the box.
Finding CW medals today is a difficult task. It is even more difficult to find one like that pictured here complete with the box. Most boxes have long since disappeared. Note the printed crest of the manufacturer Wilson and Son of Philadelphia inside the lid. The white ribbon seen here is to allow the medal to be properly lifted out of the box without damage to the box. The medal pictured is suspended by an anchor, thus being the navy medal. The ribbon above is the CW era ribbon. This ribbon design changed in 1896.
The medal pictured on the left is the design of the first navy medal. Look closely at the anchor schaft and you will see fouling wrapped around the shaft.
Compare it to the same era navy medal on the right. But this one came out just a little later and the version had by then dropped the fouling, possibly because of the costs involved in making it.
Thus, the medal of the left is more rare and a more valuable. But keep in mind that in the United States it is illegal to either buy or sell a Medal of Honor.
Most intersting, in the photo you can see the name of Mr Paquet inscribed. He was the US Mint's sculpturist who designed this model of the medal. Every once in a while you may here the model being thus called the Paquet model.
The next blog will talk about the army version of the CW medal and then I will talk briefly about the designs on both and the meaning of the stripes on both models.