Alexander II Medal for Zeal, Type 2, 1870-1881.
In silver, 28.8 mm wide; weighs 15.6 g. Features portrait of Emperor Alexander II in his older years, facing right. The obverse has raised inscription "B[y the] G[race of God] Alexander II, Emperor and Autocrat of All Russia". Sculptured bas-relief of the Emperor is executed with extraordinary precision and skill. The draft of this particular version of the Type 2 medal was reportedly created by the medallist K. Shnitshpan. Its most distinct characteristics are absence of the die-cutter's initials on the undercut of the shoulder and absence of dots above the "I" in the inscription ЗА УСЕРДIЕ ("For Zeal") on the reverse. There are other, more subtle differences in the portrait when compared with another version of the Type 2 medal by N. Kozin, e.g. more pronounced brow of the emperor. This variation of the medal is quite rare (rarity rating R3 according to Diakov.)
In excellent condition. There are some tiny scuffs and miniscule scratches to the high points of the Emperor's bas- relief that can be found under 10x magnification, but they are completely invisible to the naked eye. The details of the portrait as well as lettering on both sides are exceptionally well-preserved and crisp, nearly pristine. The background exhibits beautiful mint luster. The reverse has some minor scratches to the filed that are not too detractive. The raised edge is completely free of knocks or significant dings.
/M. Diakov "Medals of the Russian Empire, Part 5, 1855- 1881", p. 33, fig. 637.3; D. Peters, "Award Medals of Russia, XIX - Early XX Century" , pp. 20, 21/.
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