Red Cross Commune of Saint Elisabeth, donation jetton, 1914.
Silver, enamels. Measures 45.4 mm in height (not including the connecting link), 24.4 mm in width. Riveted 2-piece construction. Features enameled Red Cross emblem with engraved inscription "Commune of St. Elisabeth". Superimposed on the top is the cipher of Grand Duchess Elisaveta Fyodorovna. The reverse shows Latin maker mark "L.P" of unknown St. Petersburg maker, silver hallmark "84" with Kokoshnik and Greek character Alpha (barely legible) of the St. Petersburg assay inspection, and a small assayer's hallmark with Kokoshnik. In the central portion of the reverse is engraved name of the recipient, B. V. Zasypkin, and a 1914 date of issue.
The jetton is in very fine condition. The enamel is well-preserved overall, free of any chips or other glaring flaws although it shows rubbing and a single tiny surface flake at the top edge of the cross. There is minor wear to the raised points of the crown and cypher, but most of the details are nevertheless nicely defined. The eyelet which holds the connecting link for a watch fob is bent; this is only noticeable from the reverse, and the eyelet remains sound and fully functional. There is very attractive even toning to silver throughout.
The St. Elisabeth Commune of Medical Nurses operated as part of the Russian Red Cross under the auspices of Grand Duchess Elisaveta. The silver jetton was issued by its Funding Committee; requirements for the award included not only donating at least 10 rubles to the commune, but also performing certain amount of work as volunteer. Some are known to be awarded to foreigners. The date of this particular piece makes it especially interesting: it was probably awarded for volunteer work / charitable donation for the benefit of the soldiers wounded in the first months of the Great War. Most other jettons of St. Elisabeth Commune that we have seen were manufactured and issued much earlier, during the Russo-Japanese War or even before. The ones made and issued during WW1 are very uncommon.
/See E. Gribanov. "Russian Medical Badges" fig. 49; also shown in "Jettons of Imperial Russia" by R. Werlich, fig. J-158/.