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    Dr. Olshevich's Group

    Chuck In Oregon

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    I just received this group on Monday. It is minor, but interesting. To me, it suggests a learned man who loved life and doing things other than his chosen profession. He is Georgian, and that might suggest someone from Georgia's nobility. That class, those who didn't manage to escape to Turkey or Europe, was essentially eliminated after the civil war.

    His name was Dr. Nikolai Olshevich. That's him on the right. His medical graduate badge is yet another version of the one that George, and later I, posted in the thread "Doctor's Badge". This one is solid silver, proofed and hallmarked. There might be a single trace of gilt in the mouth of the left snake, but I'm not at all sure. The design below the cup (pestle?) is different, as is the ribbon design at the very bottom.

    It seems to be a three part badge. The base part, which you can see on the reverse as the big U-shape with the ribbon at the bottom, is just something to hang the rest of the badge on. The leaves are individually crafted and hung on that U frame. The imperial eagle frame looks like it came out of stock and could have been used for a variety of themed badges. They knew, even then, that the top crown tended to snap off, so they built in a small support with two legs on the reverse to strenghthen the crown portion.

    The defining portion is, of course, the solid silver medical insignia. All of this work seems to have been done at a very high skill level. There were many gifted silversmiths and jewelers in Tbilisi back in the day.

    It looks like the screwback is merely plated bronze.

    More to follow.


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    The jeton with the little guy and the barrel is a birthday present. It is silver with two colors of gold. On the reverse is the N. Olshevich's name and the toast "Good Health."

    The happy little guy coming out of the egg on the barrel, holding a loaf of flat Georgian bread and a wine cup, is a Georgian "tamada" (accent on the last syllable). It is a classic Georgian caricature. Georgia is famous for its "supras", or banquets, and equally known for its toasts and toastmasters, or tamadas.

    The tamada is in total control of the supra, giving opening and closing toasts and dozens of toasts in between. No one else can propose a toast without asking the tamada's permission. There is a progression of toasts, interspersed with toasts to each attendee, to whatever event might have occasioned the supra, to current events in general, and to anything else that might occur to the tamada. You are expected to drain your wine glass after every toast. Supras can and do last for hours. Three hours would be quite ordinary. It is not at all unusual for everyone to drink 3-5 liters of wine each. Did I mention that wine was invented in Georgia? True.

    Being a skilled tamada is a highly respected art form in Georgia. Two of the most well-known tamadas are brothers, one a doctor and the other a former head of the KGB. I have dined with the former many times and the latter a few times less. They are personable, charming and adept tamadas, and each thinks that his brother is the second-best tamada in Georgia. It seems that every group or clan has its favorite tamada who is called into service at the drop of a supra.

    I can't know for sure, of course, but this jeton was almost certainly presented to the good doctor at his birthday supra.

    * * * * *

    The other is a shooting jeton of a type that I haven't seen before. Quite possibly, he or his family commissioned it for him. It was expensive, even then.

    The shoulder board is solid gold with high quality translucent red enamel with a simple pattern beneath. The main part of the jeton is silver, with (again) high quality translucent green enamel with a sunburst design beneath. The shooter is solid gold. Both parts are proofed and hallmarked.

    The inscription on the reverse is "N. Olshevich, For Excellent Shooting, 153rd Regiment" then a slash and an abbreviation that might stand for Infantry, as in 153rd Infantry Regiment. I don't know. Then the name Alexander, which may be part of the name of the regiment, and the year, 1913.

    OK, I hope you have enjoyed this little group. Now post some of yours. George, you get a pass on that part.


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    I know nothing about Imperial Russian militaria, but I really enjoy seeing attributable items, especially when they are works of art in their own right.


    * * * * *

    Hi David

    I, too, enjoy attributed items. If I could only find a few more, I would collect them as a theme. Attributed Imperial items have been hard for me to find, and attributed Imperial groupings even harder. I value the few I own. I'll post them here as time allows.


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