Lenin Prize Medal, #1450, circa mid-1960s issue.
The medallion is in solid 23 K gold; measures 27.1 mm in
width; weighs 20.3 grams without suspension and connecting
link; overall weight with suspension is 27.4 g. Beautifully
detailed bas-relief of Lenin in high tri-dimensional profile
to the obverse. The reverse has a stamped serial number. The
suspension is in silver gilt, measures 23.9 mm wide.
In very fine condition. The Lenin's bas-relief has only a
few tiny scuffs and contact marks, mostly to the forehead,
but no significant overall wear; its details are nicely
preserved and crisp. The recessed field of the medallion on
the obverse is mostly pristine, with just a single ding at
approximately 3 o'clock position and a couple of microscopic
contact marks. There are more significant dings, nicks and
mild scrapes to the raised edge in the upper segment, but
none of them are very detractive. The reverse has scuffs in
the mid- and upper section, some of which affected the
second line of the inscription. The damage to the lettering
is limited to the raised parts of three of the letters and
therefore not too noticeable without a magnifying glass.
Besides that, the field on the reverse has a single ding at
9 o'clock; its stippling is mostly intact and beautifully
defined. The raised edge of the reverse has a few minor
dings only, no nicks.
The medal comes on original suspension device, complete with
back plate and fully functional pin attachment. The original
gold plating on the suspension is present throughout and
clearly visible, although it is partly obscured by silver
patina on the reverse. The connecting link is original and
has not been cut. The ribbon is old and shows wear, but it
is still perfectly sound and clean.
The Lenin Prize was established as a monetary reward in 1925
and first awarded in 1926 to several leading scientists for
groundbreaking research. Later it was also issued for works
of art, literature, cinematography, technological
achievements etc. The title of Lenin Prize Winner or
"Laureate" would bring immense recognition and career
benefits for life.
Lenin Prize was not awarded during the Stalin's years but it
was reintroduced in 1956, during the "de-Stalinization"
campaign. The gold medal was established during the same
year. The first person to receive it was Igor Kurchatov, the
father of Soviet atomic bomb. In the first years after its
introduction, up to 76 prizes could be awarded annually,
often shared between members of a single team that had
worked on the same project. In 1967, State Prize took the
role of the lesser award and the status of Lenin Prize,
already an extremely prestigious award, became thereby
further elevated. Henceforth, the Lenin Prize was awarded
once every two years (although there were some exceptions
for secret projects) and in far smaller numbers, only 30 at
a time. Unlike the earlier Stalin Prize, Lenin Prize could
be awarded to any person only once in a lifetime. It must be
noted that although no serial number records for Lenin
Prizes have been found as of now, they may exist in the
Russian archives - which represents an excellent research
potential for any Lenin Prize Medal.