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An interesting pair


Ed_Haynes
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Yes... that velcro tape is a fascinating detail, something that gives this Alhaddin's cave treasure that fantastic "touch".

Why didn't I buy an ex-Soviet oil company in 1990?

If the prospective buyer would be interested, I have 2 meters of white velcro tape in my safe: I could sell it for ? 20.000,- (a real bargain!).

Best wishes,

Enzo

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Just to preserve the image and the history.

The description:

Complete Group of 2 Decorations Badge of Distinction of the Military Order of St George, 4th cl, #97675, 1904; Medal for the Battle of Chemulpo (Varyag and Koreets), 1904. Issued to Sailor Aleksandr Skvernyak, Stoker 2nd cl. aboard the Cruiser Varyag.

The Badge of Distinction of the Military Order of St. George (or, as it was called later, St. George Cross). In silver, 34.3 mm wide, 34.1 mm tall not including the eyelet. Weight 11.5 g not including the suspension and connecting link. Serial number "97675" is stamped in standard font of the period. The shape of the eyelet, details of the medallion and finish of the edge are all characteristic of the St. George Crosses of the Russo-Japanese War period. In near mint condition. Raised details are completely free of wear. No nicks, significant scratches or other damage. Shows beautiful, even patina to silver. The connecting link is original to the Cross.

The Medal for the Battle of Chemulpo (Battle of Varyag and Koreets in direct translation from Russian), 1904. In silver, 30.1 mm wide, 30.0 mm tall at the eyelet. Weight 16.4 g without connecting link. Magnificently detailed, in near mint condition matching precisely condition of the St. George Cross, down to same exact tone of silver patina.

Suspension and Ribbons Incredibly, both medals remain attached to their original suspension device which retains its original ribbons, including the practically nonexistent Chemulpo ribbon with its Imperial naval ensign design. The blue cross is woven into the ribbon, and not applied as paint or colored felt as seen on replacements. The ribbons display the pleasing and unmistakable age patina of textiles from this era. They show wear to the surface, revealing the fine weave pattern underneath.

The previous owner applied a piece of modern self-adhesive velcro to the reverse for his display purposes. We have made no attempt to remove it.

During the battle of Chemulpo Bay, at the start of the Russo-Japanese War, Varyag and the gunboat Koreets faced a vastly superior Japanese squadron of six cruisers and eight destroyers. Instead of surrender, the Russian ships opened fire in a heroic gesture of defiance. The Russian artillery crewmen stuck to their guns despite the lack of splinter shields. When they were put out of action by notoriously accurate Japanese gunnery, the Varyag was scuttled. Although the battle ended in defeat, the event was celebrated as an example of Russian doggedness. For pressing a heroic attack in the face of certain destruction, the crews of both vessels were honored as national heroes and the epitome of the indomitable Russian fighting spirit. A special medal was struck for the enlisted and petty officers involved. Due to the small number of participants eligible to receive it, only 697 were made. The actual number issued was fewer due to those eligible dying of wounds or not returning from captivity. Additionally, everyone eligible for a Chemulpo was awarded a St. George. Thus a Chemulpo without its associated St. George is incomplete.

Note also, the number of St George 4th class issued for the battle was fewer than the number of Chemulpo medals, due to the number of crew eligible for a 3rd class.

The name of the recipient, Aleksandr Skvernyak, has been determined by the number of the St. George Cross, using the listing in the recently published Russian language book "Badge of Distinction of the Military Order of St. George. List of Those Awarded for the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05". According to this book and also Internet sources such as schools.keldysh.ru, Skvernyak (or Skvernyakov in another version of his last name) was born in 1878.

Incredibly, after the battle of Chemulpo, Stoker Skvernyak was fated to participate in yet another event of profound historical importance to Russia. He transferred to the Black Sea Fleet and the infamous battleship Potemkin, where he served until 1905. This is where the historic record of Skvernyak ends, making it practically certain that Skvernyak took part in the June 1905 mutiny. His name is not among the few crewmen who decided to return to Russia to face trial (their medals were consequently confiscated). As most of the crew, he went on to live in exile and probably never wore his medals again - which would account for their exceptional condition. Exile would also explain the absence of the 1905 Medal for the Russo-Japanese War, as the mutiny happened before the war was over.

The combination of completeness (down to the original ribbons) and extremely low number of medals issued makes this medal bar a complete grouping of exquisite rarity. Moreover, its association with tragic-heroic events leading ultimately to the collapse of the Russian Empire and a new dark age for the Russian people, makes this a group of historical significance rarely seen on the open market. This artifact may be truly considered a national treasure of Russia.

With apolgies to Igor!

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Yes... that velcro tape is a fascinating detail, something that gives this Alhaddin's cave treasure that fantastic "touch".

Why didn't I buy an ex-Soviet oil company in 1990?

If the prospective buyer would be interested, I have 2 meters of white velcro tape in my safe: I could sell it for ? 20.000,- (a real bargain!).

Best wishes,

Enzo

Hi Enzo

That is no ordinary velcro but after close examination sure enough orginal pure white Czarist velcro which certainly justifies the quarter million price. Let us just hope that these investors stay in the Russian arena and not spread to other Empires or it will be the end to the majority of us collectors :( . Luckily it is only Russia having an oil based economy and not the rest of Europe....

Brian

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WOW! Thanks for posting Ed! I might have missed this otherwise!!!

Pure White Czarist Velcro?? Czar Putin perhaps?!! :speechless:

Having said that Igor is to be commended for not trying to remove the velcro. More damage could have been done as a result. Of course, the previous should be (censored for violent content) for that 'latest' addition to the bar!!!!

Jim

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Most probably, that wonderful piece of velcro was put on the bar's reverse from the original owner of the piece, who acquired it at a flea market in the mid '90s for the equivalent of 100,- Euro, not knowing that he was going to buy a Russian National Treasure...

E.L.

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I think that for this price, one could buy an original collar (in gold, 2nd half 19th Century) of the Austrian Golden Fleece, and there would still remain some money in the pocket to go to the cinema...

Enzo

True. I guess.

And you could also (almost) buy a VC group (if Lord Ashcan weren't in the bidding).

So???

Much less history in the collar and the VC group would at least be named (though it too, for that much money, wouldn't have too much history connected with it).

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True. I guess.

And you could also (almost) buy a VC group (if Lord Ashcan weren't in the bidding).

So???

Much less history in the collar and the VC group would at least be named (though it too, for that much money, wouldn't have too much history connected with it).

Thats a good one " Lord Ashcan " really funny. Cornering the market big time!!!!!!!!!!

For that much money you can own a cinema.

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I don't know guys.... how do you price a true piece of history..... what... there might be 6 known examples world-wide?

I think there are many unique things in the world that remain at low prices.

The "Kalahari 1907" bar was awarded about 50 times (?) and it took Huesken a flew years to move it at EUR700 (god knows how few of those are around)

I think the prices of Russian awards like these are based on 1) The depth of the pockets of the fields collecting elite and 2) the fact that some of the collectors have limitless funds and dont care what they pay, as long as its "theirs" at the end of the day.

Objectively, I am jealous as I cannot collect like that.

Having read of a few militaria and antique dealers that have been rather violently robbed and or murdered by "collectors" from the east... I would hope for this dealers sake that he does not keep his stock in his apartment.... :rolleyes:

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And Chris' point is a sad but serious comment. Apart from all the ZAV that has shown up over the years, all the new self-proclaimed experts.... it is the fact that someone would MURDER another human being over these items that totally turns me off from collecting Militaria.

I have sold off everything..... I have zero interest in being any more of a target than I already am. Hence one of the primary reasons many of us hide behind (somewhat) anonymous screen-names.

Once upon a time, I was quite involved in antique tinplate trains.... I watched people show up at funerals, widow's doors, etc. trying to swoop in and buy collections and pieces for cheap. It disgusted me so much I stopped collecting and associating with any of these people to this day...

Murder a dealer, a collector or a recipient of an award simply to possess a "thing"...... how many people do you think will want to be on that list?

Not me..... at the point where a badge, a medal, a group becomes worth being killed.... it's time to say goodbye.

Oh sure, you can lock everything up in a vault, stare at the pictures of your collection on your computer screen... gosh what fun that will be.... Then instead of simply killing you.... the bad people will force you to watch the molestation and torture of your loved ones until you clean out your vault and deliver the goods..... and then they'll probably off you just the same.

Isn't collecting fun now?

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Well,

I have been thinking about this group...

IMHO there is nothing at all (Historical importance, Rarity, Desirability) that anywhere near justifies the price.

It is a wish price aimed at a New Rich multi, multi millionaire who needs to show off with a "unique" group.

1) Rarity does not always equal desirability

2) It was a dramatic action, but not 250 000 worth

3) It is rare but nowhere near "Exceedingly rare and unique"

to the above...

1) Many awards are waaaaaay rarer... see awards on the Naval General service Medal with awards sometimes in only double figures

2) Only just over 600 chargers in the light brigade, maybe THE most famous action ever.... lots of very deep pocketed buyers after these groups..... at about 1/10th of the price of the sailor boy.

3) once again, many, many awards are rares, and arguably more desirable.... at nowhere near the price.

Historically interesting, sure, but so was the first day of the Somme, A D-Day first wave casualty, a Pearl Harbour casualty, a dam buster raider.... there are just sooooooooo many heroic and dramatic actions... many get little more than a shrug when you show folks the awards.... does this one really stand out THAT much more?

Look past the fact that it is a great group... and think of what other great groups cost.....

is it really worth soooooooo much more?

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To take this a step further....

I saw one of these on an auction for USD5000,

In another auction it was in with a dozen other Russian commemorotives.

In lot 494 in the Spinks auction of April 2007 it is in a mixed bag lot with 20 or so other medals commemorating heroic russian actions with an estimate of 400-500 British pounds.

The lot did not sell at that price.... and you just KNOW that all well healed collectors and dealers have an eye on that catalog, very little gets through...

The Greenwich ship museum has a selection of Russian commemoratives including this one.

I would say (until someone shows me what a silly boy I am) that this is one of dozens of tokens/medals issued to commemorate dramtic actions, the Russians seemed to make quite a few of these.

Is it sure that they were only made for the participants? Finding 4 in online catalogs is usually asign that something is not thaaaat rare.

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Honestly, the historical content of this one puts any Charge of the Light Brigade group to shame. Repeat after me: "Potemkin". (Though a bit more evidence would be a nice touch, it seems kosher.) And, even though it is far outside my field, I can see that.

But, then, some would rather have 3,516 (more or less) essentially identical and totally history-free 1914 EK2s?

Whatever gets you through the night?

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And Chris' point is a sad but serious comment. Apart from all the ZAV that has shown up over the years, all the new self-proclaimed experts.... it is the fact that someone would MURDER another human being over these items that totally turns me off from collecting Militaria.

I have sold off everything..... I have zero interest in being any more of a target than I already am. Hence one of the primary reasons many of us hide behind (somewhat) anonymous screen-names.

Once upon a time, I was quite involved in antique tinplate trains.... I watched people show up at funerals, widow's doors, etc. trying to swoop in and buy collections and pieces for cheap. It disgusted me so much I stopped collecting and associating with any of these people to this day...

Murder a dealer, a collector or a recipient of an award simply to possess a "thing"...... how many people do you think will want to be on that list?

Not me..... at the point where a badge, a medal, a group becomes worth being killed.... it's time to say goodbye.

Oh sure, you can lock everything up in a vault, stare at the pictures of your collection on your computer screen... gosh what fun that will be.... Then instead of simply killing you.... the bad people will force you to watch the molestation and torture of your loved ones until you clean out your vault and deliver the goods..... and then they'll probably off you just the same.

Isn't collecting fun now?

It is most disturbing that a fellow human would murder another for a medal. One German online dealer has a site for crime and it is shocking :speechless1: . In the States I don't think we have that problem, perhaps the bad guys have no desire to cross oceans or face the possibility of Americans keeping guns in their homes. Under your scenario vaults are meaningless and you have a valid point. Let us hope the bad guys don't come ashore.

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It is most disturbing that a fellow human would murder another for a medal. One German online dealer has a site for crime and it is shocking :speechless1: . In the States I don't think we have that problem, perhaps the bad guys have no desire to cross oceans or face the possibility of Americans keeping guns in their homes. Under your scenario vaults are meaningless and you have a valid point. Let us hope the bad guys don't come ashore.

Well . . . after the targeted robbery that Markov suffered (no one was harmed, but was that mere luck?) . . . ????

Guns?? Ha ha ha. What a hormonal joke. Better for snuffing college students or hamburger customers.

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I think I would rather have 10,000 British-issue Victory Medals, each named to an individual. Especially ones to the Royal Navy, where for a few dollars more I can download their service records from National Archives.

See how many shipmates I can put together.

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Well . . . after the targeted robbery that Markov suffered (no one was harmed, but was that mere luck?) . . . ????

Guns?? Ha ha ha. What a hormonal joke. Better for snuffing college students or hamburger customers.

That depends upon if you are willing to defend yourself and your property.

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Well . . . after the targeted robbery that Markov suffered (no one was harmed, but was that mere luck?) . . . ????

Guns?? Ha ha ha. What a hormonal joke. Better for snuffing college students or hamburger customers.

Actually Ed this is no joke, last year there was a home invasion a few blocks away from where I live and the owner took it upon himself to shoot the criminals first or be at there mercy. Let us pray we are never faced with a break in over medals.......

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