State Prize Medal, 1st class, #1821, 1962-1966.
Medallion is in solid 23 K gold; measures 29.6 mm in height
incl. eyelet, 26.1 mm wide; weighs 14.6 g not including the
suspension and connecting link; overall weight of the medal
with suspension and screw plate is 23.2 g. The suspension
device is in gold-plated silver. Stamped serial number to
the reverse. This is a relatively late issue of the State
Prize 1st cl., featuring more yellow tint to gold (as
opposed to the reddish tint of some of the early specimens.)
In excellent, near mint condition. The medallion is not only
completely free of the usual dings, scrapes from testing for
gold, or nicks, but also shows literally no wear visible to
the unaided eye. The microscopic contact marks to the
polished surfaces can barely be found even under 10x
magnification. The stippling on the background is pristine,
and so are the raised details. The medal comes with
original gold-plated suspension device, complete with back
plate, hexagon nut and screw nut. The suspension shows nice
light patina, while the gilt finish is clearly visible on
all of its parts. The old, obviously original ribbon is
immaculately clean. The connecting link is original and has
not been cut. Without exaggeration, this is one of the best
examples of the State Prize 1st cl. we have ever seen.
The State Prize was established in 1962 during "de-
Stalinization" process and the medal was initially intended
as a replacement for all surviving recipients of the earlier
Stalin Prizes. From that point forward, these individuals
were always referred to in Soviet sources as State Prize
laureates, even though they had received the award before
the State Prize came into existence.
State Prize came in three classes until 1966. Starting from
1967, only one class was issued, often awarded to several
key members of the team that worked on a prize-winning
project. Each of the laureates would receive an equal share
of the monetary reward accompanied by a single class State
Prize Medal in gold.
Note that the serial number of this specimen is relatively
high for a pre-1967 First class in gold; this makes the
medal equally likely to be either a replacement for a Stalin
Prize 1st cl. or a "true" State Prize, 1st cl. issue to a
laureate of the mid-60s. Russian archives may someday shed
light on this subject - and perhaps even allow to positively
identify the recipient by the serial number of the medal.
/See "Avers 8", p. 221, fig. 1086.a/.