Lenin Prize Medal, Type 1, #498, circa 1960 issue.
The medallion is in solid 23 K gold; the suspension device
is in gold-plated silver. The medallion measures 27.1 mm
wide and weighs 20.0 grams (not including the suspension and
connecting link); total weight with suspension is 27.9 g.
The obverse features beautifully detailed, sculptured bas-
relief of Lenin. Note the low serial number "498" stamped on
the reverse. The suspension device in silver gilt is of the
early type, with a cylindrical catch for the pin held by the
push-button; it measures 23.9 mm in width. Based on our
observations, no more than several hundred Lenin Prize
Medals were issued with the Type 1 suspension, roughly in 1
- 800 serial number range.
In very fine to excellent condition. The Lenin's bas-relief
and stippling on the background of the medallion on the
obverse are nearly pristine having a few miniscule contact
marks almost unnoticeable to the naked eye. There are a few
tiny dings to the raised edge near the top, also practically
unnoticeable, no bumps or edge knocks. The reverse has a
single scrape to the edge at 8:30 to 9 o'clock segment,
probably from testing for gold content. The background field
shows a couple of tiny dings to the field at about 7 o'clock
position, otherwise untouched, with perfectly preserved
stippling. The raised lettering is perfect and beautifully
The Type 1 suspension device is original and perfect, with
nicely preserved gilt clearly visible under the attractive
light silver patina. The pin and cylindrical catch are
completely intact and fully functional. The old, probably
original ribbon is very clean. The connecting link is
original and has not been cut.
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
was reintroduced in 1956, during the "de-Stalinization"
campaign. The gold medal was established 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, an
already extremely prestigious award, got 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 or the lower State Prize,
Lenin Prize could be awarded to any person only once in a
lifetime. It must be added that although no serial number
records for Lenin Prizes have been found as of now, they may
exist in the Russian archives - which represents a
singularly immense research potential for any Lenin Prize