How Much Is A Purple Heart Worth In 2023?

The Purple Heart is one of the most prestigious military decorations awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces. If you have been awarded a Purple Heart or inherited one, you may be wondering what the monetary value of this honor is.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The monetary value of a Purple Heart medal itself is minimal, often less than $100 at auction. However, the honor and distinction that come with being awarded a Purple Heart are priceless.

Background on the Purple Heart Medal

The Purple Heart Medal is a prestigious military decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed in combat. It is one of the oldest military awards still in use today, with a rich history and deep meaning.

History and meaning behind the award

The Purple Heart Medal was established by General George Washington on August 7, 1782, during the Revolutionary War. Originally known as the Badge of Military Merit, it was awarded to soldiers who displayed exceptional bravery and meritorious service in combat.

After the Revolutionary War, the award fell into disuse and was revived in 1932 on the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. It was renamed the Purple Heart Medal and became a symbol of sacrifice and valor.

The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to members of the U.S. military who have been wounded or killed in action against enemy forces. It is a solemn tribute to those who have made significant sacrifices for their country.

Requirements to receive a Purple Heart

To receive a Purple Heart, a service member must meet specific criteria set by the Department of Defense. The most important requirement is that the injury must be the direct result of enemy action.

The Purple Heart is awarded to those who have been wounded in any armed conflict, including but not limited to combat operations, acts of terrorism, and peacekeeping missions. It is also given posthumously to the families of service members who have been killed in action.

It’s important to note that the Purple Heart is not awarded based on the severity of the injury. Even minor wounds that occur in combat can qualify a service member for this prestigious honor.

The Purple Heart Medal holds great significance for those who have received it and their families. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made in defense of freedom and is a symbol of bravery and resilience.

For more information about the Purple Heart Medal, you can visit the official website of the Military Order of the Purple Heart at

What Impacts the Value of a Purple Heart

The value of a Purple Heart, a prestigious military decoration awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed in action, can vary depending on several factors. These factors include the condition and provenance of the medal, the type of Purple Heart (engraved vs. name only), the recipient’s service record and story, and the demand from collectors and museums.

Condition and provenance

The condition of a Purple Heart can greatly impact its value. Medals that are in excellent condition, with minimal wear and tear, are often more sought after by collectors. Provenance, or the documented history and ownership of the medal, can also play a role in determining its value. Medals with a well-documented and notable provenance may be more valuable due to their historical significance.

Type of Purple Heart (engraved vs. name only)

There are two types of Purple Hearts: engraved and name only. Engraved Purple Hearts include the recipient’s name, rank, and service branch, while name only Purple Hearts only feature the recipient’s name. Engraved Purple Hearts are generally considered more valuable because they provide more information about the recipient, adding to the historical significance of the medal.

Recipient’s service record and story

The recipient’s service record and story can also impact the value of a Purple Heart. Medals awarded to individuals with notable military achievements or who played a significant role in historical events may be more prized by collectors. Additionally, the personal story of the recipient, especially if it is well-documented or has gained public recognition, can add value to the medal.

Demand from collectors and museums

The demand for Purple Hearts from collectors and museums can significantly affect their value. If there is a high demand for these medals, the prices may increase. Collectors and museums often seek out Purple Hearts to add to their collections or exhibits, driving up the value. The rarity of certain Purple Hearts, such as those awarded during specific conflicts or to individuals with unique circumstances, can also contribute to their desirability and value.

Estimated Cash Value at Auction

When it comes to determining the cash value of a Purple Heart at auction, several factors come into play. While the intrinsic value of this prestigious military decoration cannot be measured in monetary terms, it is important to understand the market demand and the potential prices that collectors are willing to pay.

Typical range is $50 – $150 for name-only Purple Hearts

A name-only Purple Heart refers to a medal that does not have any additional engravings or documentation related to the recipient. These medals are typically purchased by collectors who appreciate the historical significance of the award itself. In general, the cash value of a name-only Purple Heart falls within the range of $50 to $150 at auction. However, it is worth noting that rare or unique circumstances surrounding the award, such as the recipient’s military service or the specific circumstances of their injury, can significantly impact the final selling price.

Engraved and documented medals can fetch up to $500

On the other hand, Purple Hearts that are engraved with the recipient’s name and have accompanying documentation, such as military orders or discharge papers, tend to have a higher cash value at auction. These additional details provide a personal connection to the recipient and enhance the historical significance of the medal. As a result, engraved and documented Purple Hearts can fetch prices of up to $500 or more, depending on the specific details and provenance associated with the award.

Purple Hearts awarded to famous recipients are worth more

It’s important to note that the cash value of a Purple Heart can be significantly influenced by the fame or notoriety of the recipient. Medals awarded to famous individuals, such as war heroes or well-known military figures, tend to command higher prices in the collector’s market. The rarity and desirability of these medals increase due to the added historical and cultural significance they possess. As a result, Purple Hearts awarded to famous recipients can fetch prices well above the average market value, reaching several thousand dollars or even more in some cases.

It is important to remember that the value of a Purple Heart is not solely determined by its cash value at auction. The sentimental and historical significance of these medals, as symbols of sacrifice and bravery, cannot be measured in monetary terms. They are, first and foremost, reminders of the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served in the armed forces.

Sentimental Value to Families

The Purple Heart, a prestigious military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed in service to their country, holds immense sentimental value to the families of veterans. It is a symbol of honor, courage, and sacrifice, representing the bravery and selflessness exhibited by their loved ones. The emotional significance attached to the Purple Heart makes it more than just a medal; it becomes a cherished reminder of a family member’s dedication and commitment to defending their nation.

Honors a veteran’s sacrifice and service

The Purple Heart is a powerful symbol that honors the sacrifices and service of veterans. It serves as a tangible recognition of the physical and emotional toll they endured while protecting the freedoms we enjoy today. This medal not only acknowledges their bravery but also serves as a reminder of the immense gratitude society owes to those who have served in the armed forces. It is a testament to the dedication and resilience of our service members and a source of immense pride for their families.

Often passed down through generations

The Purple Heart is often passed down through generations within a family, becoming an heirloom that carries with it a legacy of valor and sacrifice. As time goes on, the medal gains historical significance, connecting present-day family members with their ancestors’ military service. It becomes a cherished family heirloom, a tangible link to the past, and a reminder of the sacrifices made by their forefathers. The tradition of passing down the Purple Heart ensures that the memory of the recipient’s sacrifice remains alive for future generations.

Priceless heirloom with emotional significance

While it is impossible to assign a monetary value to the Purple Heart, its emotional significance renders it priceless. The medal represents the blood, sweat, and tears shed by veterans in defense of their country, and no amount of money can equate to the sacrifices they have made. For families, the Purple Heart serves as a constant reminder of their loved one’s dedication and bravery. It is a tangible connection to their sacrifice and a source of inspiration for future generations.

Donating or Selling a Purple Heart

When it comes to donating or selling a Purple Heart, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. Whether you want to honor the sacrifice of a loved one or simply need to part ways with this prestigious military decoration, the following options can help you make an informed decision.

Consider donating to a museum or veterans organization

If you have a Purple Heart that you would like to see displayed and preserved for future generations, donating it to a reputable museum or veterans organization can be a meaningful choice. Many museums and organizations value the significance of such medals and proudly showcase them to educate the public about the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women. Donating a Purple Heart allows it to become part of a larger historical narrative, honoring the bravery and dedication of those who have served our country.

There are several renowned institutions that accept Purple Heart donations, such as the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, located in New Windsor, New York. This museum pays tribute to Purple Heart recipients and offers a respectful environment for displaying these esteemed decorations. Additionally, veterans organizations like the Military Order of the Purple Heart often have programs in place to receive donations of Purple Hearts and ensure they are properly cared for and displayed.

Use a reputable auction house or dealer if selling

If you are considering selling your Purple Heart, it is crucial to work with a reputable auction house or dealer. These professionals have experience in handling military memorabilia and can provide you with a fair assessment of the medal’s value. Selling through a trusted auction house or dealer ensures that you receive a competitive price and that the Purple Heart goes to someone who will appreciate its historical significance.

Some auction houses specialize in military collectibles and have a dedicated customer base interested in purchasing items like Purple Hearts. Online platforms such as eBay can also be a viable option, as long as you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from potential scams.

Beware of scams targeting Purple Heart sellers

Sadly, there have been instances of scams targeting individuals who are selling Purple Hearts. It is essential to be cautious and do your research before engaging in any transaction. If you decide to sell online, be sure to verify the buyer’s reputation and use secure payment methods.

Furthermore, be aware of the legal implications surrounding the sale of Purple Hearts. In recent years, legislation has been introduced to protect the integrity of military decorations, making it illegal to sell or purchase certain medals, including the Purple Heart, in some states. Familiarize yourself with the laws in your jurisdiction to avoid any potential legal issues.

Remember, whether you choose to donate or sell your Purple Heart, you are contributing to the preservation of military history and honoring the sacrifices made by our brave men and women in uniform.


While the cash value of a Purple Heart medal is relatively low, its significance as a military honor and family heirloom makes it invaluable to most recipients and their families. The distinguished service and sacrifice of a Purple Heart recipient speak louder than any monetary estimate. If you have been entrusted with a Purple Heart, preserve its history and consider donating it to an organization that can display the medal with the dignity and respect it deserves.

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