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Linasl

Russia/Poland Order of the White Eagle

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Greetings. I have what appears to be an Imperial Russian-made Polish Order of the White Eagle Breast Star. Based on the photos alone, the leading expert on Polish-related medals believe it is genuine and valued between $10-$20,000 - but he will not do a formal appraisal because he is in the US and I am in France, and he does not want to take the risk of this Star getting lost in the postal system. As such, I cannot use his name for the appraisal. By the way, it tested positive for Silver by a reputable jeweler.

Several statistics:

a. the Star is 81 mm in diameter;

b. it is approx. 19 mm wide from bottom of attachment pin to top of center ring at the top of the Star;

c. it weighs 82 grams;

d. it is in near perfect condition.

I have several questions:

1. based on photo evaluation alone, is this an ORIGINAL Breast Star?

2. is this a pre-1917 Polish under Russian rule Star, or post 1917 Polan or Russia?

3. the Star has crossed swords - does this imply military and/or combat-related?

4. the mintmark is clearly the Imperial Russian double-headed eagle. Do you know which maker used htis hallmark?

5. for what would this been awarded for and to whom?

6. what value would you give this Star?

I have two photos attached to this post, but you can see 16 very high resolution on ImageShack by following this link:

http://img638.images...g/eagle101.jpg/

Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, please ask.

Thank you in advance. Linas

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Hello,

You say : the mintmark is clearly the Imperial Russian double-headed eagle ! I see what it could be an octopus maybe :)

Not russian made & no silver hallmark visible, never seen that type of breast star for the White Eagle order.

Rgds

Pavel

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Hi.

IMHO The Star you show is faked one.

Look. This is a Russian star of order.

Order_of_White_Eagle_Badge_star.jpg

And this is Polish star (circa 1920)

Order_of_White_Eagle_Poland-Order_Star.j

Edited by Sergey W

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Hello Sergey.

Thank you for your thoughts. I though humbly disagree. I had the top expert in the world on Polish medals and orders given in the last 400 years (which would include 1795-1918, while Poland was under Russian rule) inspect this Order closely. I though cannot mention his name, as per his request (if you know Polish medals and orders, you know who I am speaking about).

He and I both know that it was not made in Poland or Russia, but, in his expert opinion, it is an 18th century model made according to the specifications of the officer or nobleman who was awarded this Breast Star. This was often done in the last several centuries.

For example, someone who was awarded the French Legion d'Honneur during the reign of Napoleon I, Louis Philippe, or Napoleon III, would receive the original medal, then go to their favorite jeweler to make a nicer one, typically adding diamonds to the star's "bulbs" and including emeralds in the green wreath. Does this thus make it a fake? No, not at all. Actually, it makes it more valuable, especially if you collect French medals like I do. I have at least 20 Legion d'Honneur 1st and 2nd Empire, and not one looks exactly like another.

This is not done anymore, but was common practice during the 18th to early 20th century.

The issue though is that we may never know for sure.

Linas

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Hello Sergey.

Thank you for your thoughts. I though humbly disagree. I had the top expert in the world on Polish medals and orders given in the last 400 years (which would include 1795-1918, while Poland was under Russian rule) inspect this Order closely. I though cannot mention his name, as per his request (if you know Polish medals and orders, you know who I am speaking about).

He and I both know that it was not made in Poland or Russia, but, in his expert opinion, it is an 18th century model made according to the specifications of the officer or nobleman who was awarded this Breast Star. This was often done in the last several centuries.

For example, someone who was awarded the French Legion d'Honneur during the reign of Napoleon I, Louis Philippe, or Napoleon III, would receive the original medal, then go to their favorite jeweler to make a nicer one, typically adding diamonds to the star's "bulbs" and including emeralds in the green wreath. Does this thus make it a fake? No, not at all. Actually, it makes it more valuable, especially if you collect French medals like I do. I have at least 20 Legion d'Honneur 1st and 2nd Empire, and not one looks exactly like another.

This is not done anymore, but was common practice during the 18th to early 20th century.

The issue though is that we may never know for sure.

Linas

Hello,

I do not like to disappoint collector and did not want to be "too direct" when I said "never seen that type of breast star" for the russian White Eagle order, but as Sergey I must say this is a fake or a fantasy order.

After collecting for 30 years, I have never seen a metal russian breast star of the 18th century - the first known metal breast stars are dated from the beginning of the 19th century and all of private manufacturers (all the official stars delivered until 1855 were embroidered). After some researches, the hallmark ("octopus") is apparently totally unknown. About "top expert" I would say that the real experts in russian orders are very few on the market ... especially in France where it seems you are from, best experts are very often the collectors themselves but not the declared experts on auctions (see Drouot "funny" experts) or the "experts" merchants.

If not russian made, your breast star could have been made in Germany, Austria or France (mainly those three) but those are generally quite easy to identify and yours does not look like as any of those european models.

That does not mean, if you are the owner, that nobody will be interested in your star (we see so very amazing & surprising transactions on a well known auction site :-)

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Greetings. Thank you for your input.

The "expert" I was speaking about is an expert in Polish medals and Orders, of which the Order of the White Eagle was and still is. Russia "adopted" the Order as its own after the Third Partition in 1795 - yet it remains a POLISH Order. And the expert I refer to has been collecting, researching and writing about Polish Medals and Orders for SIXTY years. As such, I trust his opinion more than most others. And he lives in the US, after emigrating from Poland after WW2. I am in France.

Interestingly though, another world-renown medal expert with over 40 years experience just wrote to me about an hour ago that it looks as if the Order was manufactured in Siam in the early 19th century, based on general design specifications obtained by Asiatic leaders who visited Poland and/or Russia in the late 18th century. He mentioned this to me because the hallmark looks to him, based on his experience, to be Asiatic.

Regarding Auction House experts, I do not rely on them. Their objective is to sell. The two experts I mentioned are not sellers, but avid collectors and researchers. Thus, I trust their opinions more than most.

Ultimately, none of us may ever know the truth. But for now, I am more than comfortable relying on two people who have a combined 100 years of experience.

All for now. Thank you.

Linas

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Greetings. Thank you for your input.

The "expert" I was speaking about is an expert in Polish medals and Orders, of which the Order of the White Eagle was and still is. Russia "adopted" the Order as its own after the Third Partition in 1795 - yet it remains a POLISH Order. And the expert I refer to has been collecting, researching and writing about Polish Medals and Orders for SIXTY years. As such, I trust his opinion more than most others. And he lives in the US, after emigrating from Poland after WW2. I am in France.

Interestingly though, another world-renown medal expert with over 40 years experience just wrote to me about an hour ago that it looks as if the Order was manufactured in Siam in the early 19th century, based on general design specifications obtained by Asiatic leaders who visited Poland and/or Russia in the late 18th century. He mentioned this to me because the hallmark looks to him, based on his experience, to be Asiatic.

Regarding Auction House experts, I do not rely on them. Their objective is to sell. The two experts I mentioned are not sellers, but avid collectors and researchers. Thus, I trust their opinions more than most.

Ultimately, none of us may ever know the truth. But for now, I am more than comfortable relying on two people who have a combined 100 years of experience.

All for now. Thank you.

Linas

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Hi. Look this links.

This is the original complect of order . Made by Keibel workshop (St. Peterburg, cirka 1860) ‘Empire’ Auction House

This is collection of images of star of order from the time of Russian Empire. Link

This is collection of images of star of order from the time of Provisional Government (1917) Link

The photo of Pawel Unterberger, decorated with White Eagle order Ptoto

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Hello Sergey. Thank you for the photos.

But what you don't seem to realize is that not one Breast Star looks like any other. Many different versions of this Breast Star have been made for several centuries - your links prove that.

Also, there were "official" Breast Stars approved by the govenment, and then there were custom-made Breast Stars based on the wishes of the "client" who was awarded the Order. This happened VERY often in the 18th to early 20th century. It STILL happens here in France with the Legion d'Honneur.

Thus, I must ask - after reviewing all the different versions of the Order on the sites for which you provided links, what makes you so sure that the one I presented is not authentic, whereas all the others are? Are you a world-renown expert on this Order? Have you published expert-reviewed books? Or are you just giving your opinion?

How you answer these questions (I already know the answer) will tell me how much trust I should put in your analysis, versus those of true, world-renown, critically-acclaimed published authors who have reviewed my Breast Star in great detail.

I am not trying to be disrespectful, but you seem driven to attack my credibility, yet your own message that provided links to multiple renditions of the Order makes me wonder why you are so determined to disqualify my copy of the Breast Star as a fake.

Lastly, you did not provide any information on the original POLISH order from the 18th century, before the Russians decided to destroy Poland with its forced occupation which was completed back in 1795 during the Third Partition. Remember, the Order of the White Eagle was, and ALWAYS was, a POLISH Order. The Russians liked it, so they adopted it for themselves.

Keep in mind, MY expert, with over 60 years of experience and respected around the world as the #1 expert on Polish militaria believes MY Breast Star is a Polish 18th Century, pre-1795 version. He NEVER thought it was Russian. I would be curious to hear how you will counter the beliefs of someone who has been researching and collecting longer than I have ben alive (I was born in 1964).

I look forward to your response. Thank you.

Linas

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Hello Linas.

I'm very susprised.

Your first message.

I have what appears to be an Imperial Russian-made Polish Order of the White Eagle Breast Star. Based on the photos alone, the leading expert on Polish-related medals believe it is genuine and valued between $10-$20,000 - but he will not do a formal appraisal because he is in the US and I am in France, and he does not want to take the risk of this Star getting lost in the postal .

Your last message.

Keep in mind, MY expert, with over 60 years of experience and respected around the world as the #1 expert on Polish militaria believes MY Breast Star is a Polish 18th Century, pre-1795 version. He NEVER thought it was Russian.

IMHO Your expert changes his mind rapidly.

I never said "I am a expert in Polish decoration".

But look at picture of White Eagle Breast Star XVIII Centure ze zbiorów Biblioteki Narodowej w Warszawie.

44_order%20orla%20bialego_gwiazda.jpg

Rgds Sergey

Edited by Sergey W

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Hello Sergey.

I understand the confusion - my apologies.

What needs to be understood is that my discussions with the Polish expert is ongoing. My first enquiry was mostly based on what the auction house where I bought the Breast Star told me. Now I know that the auction house has no clue - not surprising.

My Polish expert, from the beginning, thought it was 18th or early 19th century - which could be Kingdom of Poland or Russian-occupied Poland. He cannot give any further details. But he is very confident about the dating and that this Breast Star is not a fake.

Believe me, it is frustrating. Even the Polish photo you shared with me doesn't help me a lot because, as I repeated multiple times, there were many versions of this, and most, Orders awarded in Europe - typically custom-designed to fit the wishes of the recipient. Even Goering of the Nazi Luftwaffe had his medals custom-designed.

One big issue is the hallmark. Noone seems to recognize it. That is too bad. By identifying the hallmark, much of the "mystery" surrounding my Breast Star would be answered.

So... we are no closer to an answer. Maybe some day.

Linas

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One big issue is the hallmark. Noone seems to recognize it.

Linas

Greetings, Linas,

With all due respect – the biggest issue with your star is that it is six-pointed. All examples of the White Eagle star known to me, both Polish and Russian are eight-pointed as shown by numerous examples above and as per official order insignia descriptions. Changing the basic outline of the order insignia is something quite uncommon so seeing a six-pointed White Eagle star is as shocking as seeing an eight-rayed Legion d'Honneur or a four-pointed Soviet Hero star. You may want to ask your experts to refer you to any other known six-pointed examples of this star and share these examples with the collector community with educational purposes. Without such a research and comparison to known six-pointed examples no serious expert can claim this to be a genuine star, let alone give any price estimate on it.

In your initial post you are asking for other members' opinion regarding authenticity of this piece so let me express mine: this star is a fantasy.

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Hello. Thank you for your comments.

I believe I clearly stated the differences in the Star and let people judge for themselves. As for my expert, he clearly noted the six-point star, yet he fully believes this is an authentic star and not a fantasy. Given his 50 years of expertise, I will stick with his assessment. Thanks.

Linas

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Thank you Iain for your support.

My expert has seen them all - all variations and all fantasy pieces. After 50 years of collecting, researching (in the US, Poland AND Russia) and writing books on the subject, I think he knows what he is talking about. There is probably not many in this world who know more about this subject than him.

Linas

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Sorry having a bit of a bother with my computer.... only managing to get parts of my post on

I meant to add although the images I have seen are as others have said, 8 pointed not six but yours reminded me of them

Regards

IainM

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Sorry having a bit of a bother with my computer.... only managing to get parts of my post on

I meant to add although the images I have seen are as others have said, 8 pointed not six but yours reminded me of them

Regards

IainM

The clasp at the back is interesting, it seems a very bulky type of fastening compared to others I have seen. Has anyone come across this type of clasp before?

Regards

IainM

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Linas

This is probably long 'dead' subject but no Polish White Eagle Order had ever been issued (or even considered) with swords. Correct me if I am wrong here but was not Virtuti Militari Polish Kingdom's sole Order for Military not the White Eagle (or Saint Stanislaw).

To me, this star looks to be of typical Souval manufacture. I think our good Doctor (I presume this is who Linas have been talking to) has been drinking too much coffee if he even considered this to be genuine Polish award.

Also, hallmark is strange - I've studied hallmarks for 30 some odd years. Just out of curiosity I have gone over my books of European silver marks. The only 2 that are anywhere close to that mark are from Netherlands (2 different cities from XVII and XVIII centuries). No Russian or Polish mark contained within rectangle comes anywhere near what is struck on that star. I searched for marks that were rectangular, also marks featuring clearly defined dots (on top or bottom) and as last resort I checked all double headed eagle marks (this is where 2 Dutch marks popped up but shape of container is different). Just to be certain, I checked marks that were not easily defined - also no match.

Another thing, this mark is way too large if intended as a metal purity mark. If anything, it could be maker mark. Seems there is something strange about this piece but it is your money.

Good luck.

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Hello,

why Souval?

The broad pin allows me to think about a polish production like Olszewski etc.

Elmar Lang

Edited by Elmar Lang

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Elmar,

I am simply going by the similarity in design and finishing of ther star itself (similar to Souval's re-makes of the German Eagle Order, Azad-Hind and number of others they 'cranked out').

What makes you think Olszewski would even attempt such creation; they never made any Orders (to my knowledge) and firm never started any production until II Republic (after WW1) - to my knowledge this just does not add up. Unless you're thinking it is a very recent (which is what I think) 'creation'. Besides, this mark on the pin is as far away from Polish marks as it gets. I personally think this is a fictious mark, made to look like some form of Russian pre 1917 mark. Whoever made it was probably trying to go for the double headed eagle but never bothered to actually check what those marks looked like (especially shape and size of the container).

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Hello,

my opinion about the possibility that this star could have been made by Olszewski is based upon the type of broad pin/hinge (from what I can see in the picture), closely resembling the reverse of a POLONIA RESTITUTA star, indicated as a copy made by that Warsaw-based firm, illustrated in W. Stela: Polskie Ordery i Odznaczenia; Warsaw, 2010, vol. II page 158.

The type of star (rays) doesn't necessarily seem like the copies of Souval: it's after one of the types of rays as used in Russian orders, more or less.

Besides that, this same star, was sold in auction at Thies' (sale nr.33 - October 15th, 2007, lot 249, start price Euro 1.200,- where the lot remained unsold). Mr. Thies, who definitely is a deep expert, catalogued that piece, among other russian and soviet ones (lots 207-690) offering them "as is", without any warranty.

Best wishes,

Elmar Lang

Edited by Elmar Lang

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Hello,

my opinion about the possibility that this star could have been made by Olszewski is based upon the type of broad pin/hinge (from what I can see in the picture), closely resembling the reverse of a POLONIA RESTITUTA star, indicated as a copy made by that Warsaw-based firm, illustrated in W. Stela: Polskie Ordery i Odznaczenia; Warsaw, 2010, vol. II page 158.

The type of star (rays) doesn't necessarily seem like the copies of Souval: it's after one of the types of rays as used in Russian orders, more or less.

Besides that, this same star, was sold in auction at Thies' (sale nr.33 - October 15th, 2007, lot 249, start price Euro 1.200,- where the lot remained unsold). Mr. Thies, who definitely is a deep expert, catalogued that piece, among other russian and soviet ones (lots 207-690) offering them "as is", without any warranty.

Best wishes,

Elmar Lang

Elmar,

This was just a hunch (with Souval). Olszewski may have produced copies of Orders (they certainly made a lot of copies of Polish regimental badges) but probably from 1980's on which reiterates my stand on that piece. No wonder Mr. Thies was advertising it as "as is".

In any case, I personally would not purchase this star (even if it were cheap) - just does not feel right to me.

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Thank You. It will be interesting to know information about this medal.

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