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     Home > IMPERIAL RUSSIA > Imperial Russian Badges

    Badge of the North American Russian Orthodox Brotherhood in Petrograd, 2nd class, 1915-1917.

    Badge of the North American Russian Orthodox Brotherhood in Petrograd, 2nd class, 1915-1917.

    Silver gilt, solid gold (inner and outer bands of the center medallion), enamels. Measures 68.1 mm in height, 67.8 mm in width; weighs 41.5 g. Massive and complex award of multi-piece construction. The center medallion has image of St. Vladimir, the prince of Kiev who in 988 AD accepted Orthodox Christianity as a state religion for the Kievan Rus. The portrait is transfer-printed on what looks like celluloid insert (a novelty at the time when the award was made.) The blue cross in the center bears the acronym in Old Slavonic characters which stand for "North American Orthodox Brotherhood of Saint Prince Vladimir."

    The inner and outer bands of the center medallion are separate parts made in solid gold. The Imperial crown with ribbons is also a separate piece and although of different shade than the bands, appears to be made of low-carat gold rather than silver gilt (we wouldn't want to damage it by testing for gold content.) The entire cross was once gold plated on both sides; some of the original gilt finish is clearly visible in the recesses of the cross on the obverse, edges of the ball embellishments on the center medallion, and the reverse under the pin and near the center.

    The reverse of the center medallion bears very clearly struck maker mark АБ ("AB"), Kokoshnik 84 silver hallmark with the Greek character alpha designating St. Petersburg assay inspection, and a small assay inspection hallmark with Kokoshnik. There are matching maker mark and round Kokoshnik hallmark to the outside of the pin.

    The badge is in very fine to excellent overall condition. There is some rubbing and fading to the portrait, but the details are overall well-preserved. The blue center cross has surface chips to the left arm and tiny flakes elsewhere, but because the damage doesn't penetrate to silver, it is not easily noticeable. The golden bands, details of the crown, and ridges of the larger cross are beautifully crisp showing almost no wear and only very few tiny dings. The reverse is nearly pristine, with attachment wires perfectly tight and attractive light toning to silver. The pin is intact and fully functional.

    Approved on 15 January 1915, this was one of the last badges authorized by the Tsar before the revolution. (Any Russian badge or jetton showing the eagle, the crown, and/or the monogram of a member of the royal family required Nicholas's personal approval before it could be produced.) Since it could not have been safely worn - at least with the crown - after the February 1917 revolution, it had one of the shortest "life-spans" of any imperial era badge: just two years. The second class of this decoration was issued exclusively to the life members of the Brotherhood.

    /Patrikeev and Boinovich, "Badges of Russia, Vol. 1", page 356 fig. 15.9/


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