Badge to a Defender of Port-Arthur, Officer's Version, 1914
In silver and enamel; measures 42.5 mm in height, 42.4 mm in
width; weighs 30.3 g (without the washer and wing nut.)
Massive, beautifully made piece. The reverse shows silver
hallmark "84" with Kokoshnik and character alpha (for St.
Petersburg assay inspection) as well as additional round
Kokoshnik assayer's hallmark and maker mark "AB". The badge
comes with original silver washer that has matching "AB"
maker mark and round assay inspection mark. The small silver
wing nut is of the period, and although not original to this
particular badge, fits the screw perfectly.
The badge is in outstanding, excellent condition. There
are no significant dings or scratches; raised inscription
shows practically no wear. The enameled center medallion is
likewise perfect. The wires attaching the center portion of
the badge are sound and tight. The screw post is full
length, well over 18 mm.
The Port-Arthur badge was established in early 1914 to
commemorate the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the
siege. The silver version of the award was exclusively for
officers who had taken part in the defense; the lower ranked
veterans of the battle got the right to wear a less ornate
Although the defense of the key Russian naval fortress on
the Liaodong Peninsula in northeastern China, ultimately
ended in defeat, it was certainly not for the lack of
heroism on the side of the rank and file soldiers and
frontline officers of the beleaguered garrison. The Japanese
sustained significant losses in the nearly a year of siege
warfare, and the tenacious Russian resistance tied up a
large portion of the enemy forces in the theater. After the
main bastions had fallen, naval warships bottled up in the
harbor got sunk, and the defenders started running low on
ammunition, the commander of the fortress General Stessel
decided to surrender. His decision, while perhaps sound in
purely military terms, was later deemed treasonous. It
caused an immediate storm of indignation from the public at
home and seriously undermined morale of the Russian troops
everywhere. The surrender however never tarnished the
reputation of the survivors of the defense, who had faced
Japanese captivity and then a long journey home following
their release by the terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth.
/See Patrikeev and Boinovich, "Badges of Russia, Vol. 1"
, page 475; also "Russian and Soviet Military
Awards", V. Durov, Page 50, Fig. 7/