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Order of the Red Star, counterfeit, manufactured in Nazi Germany, #505342, circa 1943.

In silver plated brass and enamels; 46.0 mm in height, 48.6 mm in width; weighs 25.7 grams without screw plate. Details of the center medallion and mint mark resemble originals, although the differences become very obvious at close inspection. The style of serial number engraving is more professional than a typical original Red Star of the period. The screw plate is also a professionally made reproduction, but definitely original to this particular piece.

The order is in fair to good condition. The enamel on the top and upper left arms is partly repaired. The other three arms shows typical abrasions and rough surface, due to substandard quality of enamel. There is much wear to the center medallion, although traces of original silver plating are still clearly visible in its recesses. The silver finish is much better preserved on the reverse and the screw plate.

This fake was among a series manufactured in Germany on commission from Abwehr, German military intelligence. They were intended for Nazi infiltrators masquerading as Red Army servicemen. Based on documentary evidence, the Abwehr was especially keen on using Soviet collaborators for the purpose of infiltrating the partisan movement and assassinating its leaders. The scheme apparently met little success, and many of the "decorated" spies were caught. Some of the counterfeit awards - beside Red Stars, there were also reportedly Orders of the Red Banner - were captured, revealed as fakes, and thoroughly analyzed by NKVD.

The existence of the "Red Stars for spies" came to light several years ago, when a Russian magazine Peterburgskiy Kollektsioner ("St. Petersburg Collector") published recently declassified NKVD archives on the subject - including some photos. The magazine article is reprinted in its entirety in the catalog "Order of the Red Star" by Strekalov and Durov. The book also has full size photos of two other known examples of the "Spy" fakes (pp. 299, 300) that are essentially identical to the example we are offering. The most fascinating thing about this particular piece is that it shows clear evidence of heavy use- leading us to believe that the original owner perhaps was not caught very soon, if at all. One can only wonder what story this Red Star could tell if it could talk...

Item# 30560

$6,500.00  Add to cart

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