Avliyar Battlefield Trophy of Russo-Turkish War of 1877-
1878. Period presentation piece engraved in Russian
"Fragments of Shells and Shrapnel that I found at Avliyar.
20 September 1885."
This 12" tall trophy consists of a 12.5" diameter silver
plated copper pedestal, surmounted by an artistic
arrangement of seven fragments of exploded artillery shells.
The shell fragments are held in position by a framework
expertly crafted from silver.
There are no immediately legible markings to the fragments,
however, on close inspection each piece is recognizable as a
fired shell. Pen in photo is size reference.
Each individual silver piece shows silver hallmarks of the
type used in St. Petersburg during the last quarter of XIX
Century: "84" with St. Petersburg assay inspection symbol of
crossed anchors and scepter. Also show unclear maker marks
which may be Cyrillic "NYa" (N. D. Yanichkin Workshop).
The Avliar-Aladja (also spelled Avliyar and Aladzhi)
Battle took place in early October 1877 on the Caucasus
Front of the Russo-Turkish War. In its course, the Russian
Caucasian Corps led by General Loris-Melikov (and overall
command of Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich) inflicted a
serious defeat upon the Turkish Anatolian Army of Muhtar
Pasha. This pivotal battle put an end to Turkish plans of
invasion into Russian-controlled territories of Armenia and
Georgia, and allowed the Russians to concentrate on the
primary strategic front in Bulgaria.
At 8 a.m on 20 September, forces under the command of
Shelkovnikian, an Armenian eager to avenge the horrific
deprivations suffered by his people at the hands of the
Turks, crossed the Naharchi mountains to obtain an advantage
of surprise upon the Turks. While their goal was the
fortress at Aladzhi, they first had to take take Avliyar and
Yagni. The ensuing battle was drawn out and bloody. When
artillery ran out of shells, clever tactics and a fixed
bayonet charge drove the Turks back, clearing the way for
further Russian victories.
The exact purpose of this trophy is lost to history, however
it is obvious the shell fragments were of great importance
to the wealthy individual who collected them and had them
mounted in this elaborate way. Perhaps he was a veteran who
had braved the artillery fired in this battle, or he wished
to make a presentation to a veteran or someone with an
important connection to the location or event. Interesting
Also of interest is this lot of contemporary documents
from the field command of the same war.
In any case it is fascinating to contemplate these well
preserved pieces were once shells depleted by barrage after
barrage fired in anger during a battle of major significance
in Russian history.
Note: this item is large and weighs approximately 20 lbs.
Special shipping rates will apply.