29.05.2012

Coins and medals. Anniversary 75th auction

The Moscow company “Coins and Medals” held a jubilee 75th auction on 26 May, where 420 items were displayed: old Russian medals, decorations, badges, regimental insignia, items of uniform, Soviet lapel pins and photographs. In response to public demand, the company has significantly expanded its photography selection. The photos make for very interesting viewing, as they provide a unique opportunity to see the real faces of the Russian military. Most of this section consists of photos of various Cossack formations. The Cossacks have always embodied the bravery, courage and heroism of the Russian army, and it was the Cossacks who to a large extent were the tragic victims of the revolution and the betrayal of the Bolshevik state. Group photos of Cossacks estimated at 20-50,000 rubles were invariably sold at an increased price. A rare photograph from 1917 of General Anton Denikin, with a starting price of 235,000 rubles, was sold for 375,000 rubles, even exceeding the price of a photograph of the family of Nicholas I and his their circle, which went for 100,000 rubles. When you read the note for the lot: “Shot in Moscow at the Donskoy Cemetry” and look into the face of the general K.K. Shildbakh, you realize the criminality of the Bolshevik regime. This photograph, with a starting price of 60,000 rubles, was sold for 80,000 rubles – collectors of these historical documents restore Russian history in tragic, real and visible facts.

The auction drew great interest in the numismatic community, and the hall was full. Important regional collectors and dealers were present – of the 420 lots, 122 were unsold, with around 75% finding an owner. The top lot, the order of St. George of the 3rd degree (gold, enamel) on an order ribbon, belonging to the English lieutenant general Sir Henry Clinton, was sold at the low estimate of 5 million rubles. 18 lots were sold for over 1 million rubles, mainly by telephone or outside bids. The very rare order of St. George of the 2nd degree (gold) started at 2 million rubles, and was sold for 2.8 million.

This order was awarded to the officer of the 74th Stavropol infantry regiment Kirill Devyatkin “for the battle with the Teke from 20-24 December 1880” at the start of the siege of the fortress of Geok-Tepe during the 2nd Akhal-Teke expedition.

The medal “1st of March 1881” for the guards and eyewitnesses of the assassination of Emperor Alexander II was minted in 200 copies. They were issued according to lists approved by Emperor Alexander III personally. With a starting price of 1 million rubles, they were sold for 1.3 million.

The auction showed a growth of interest in Soviet medals of the 1920s-1930s. Medals of members of the Central Executive Committee and deputies of the Supreme Soviets of various Soviet republics were displayed in a large diversity, and were estimated at quite high prices, but were practically all sold. There was a bidding war over rarities from the Soviet regime, and a badge of a member of the Kyrgyz ASSR Central Committee with a starting price of 350,000 rubles found a buyer for 440,000 rubles. And a medal in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Kyrgyz ASSR with a starting price of 900,000 rubles skyrocketed to a final price of 1.7 million.

The expansion of this sector of the market with an increasing number of new items is enriching the national antique market.

Nadezhda Nazarevskaya, antiques commentator