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     Home > SOVIET ORDERS AND MEDALS > Highest Soviet Prizes & Honorary Titles

    Stalin Prize Medal, 2nd class, 1948 issue.

    Stalin Prize Medal, 2nd class, 1948 issue.

    The medallion is in silver and solid 14 K gold (Stalin's bust); measures 26.2 mm wide; weighs 11.5 g not including the suspension device; total weight with suspension and screw plate is 19.4 g. The suspension device is in silver gilt, measures 24.1 mm in width.

    In outstanding, excellent condition - one of the best examples we have seen in years. The Stalin's bas-relief is practically free of wear, with all of its details exceptionally well-preserved and crisp. The silver medallion is likewise almost completely free of noticeable wear on either side; the background stippling, wreath and raised lettering on the reverse are pristine. The silver has acquired beautiful even toning throughout. The medal comes on original suspension, complete with the rectangular back plate, hexagon retaining and screw nut. The gilt finish is present on all parts of the suspension, although it is pale on the obverse of the suspension and has acquired attractive patina on its reverse and the round nut.

    The Stalin Prize was introduced in 1939 to celebrate Stalin's 60th birthday. Initially, this was a strictly monetary reward given annually to a selected few scientists, inventors and artists. The medal came up only after the war, in late 1945, and was retroactively issued to the Prize winners of the previous years. This retroactive awarding explains why each medal had only the date without the serial number: the early recipients already had their award documents and adding the serial numbers to the existing award documentation would have created a bureaucratic nightmare.

    The areas of recognition for the Stalin Prize gradually expanded as did the number of awards issued yearly in each category. Therefore, as a general rule, the awards from the earlier years are usually significantly more rare than those issued later, especially from the early 50s. According to Anatoly Kutsenko's Cavaliers in 1948, only 710 people were awarded with the Stalin Prize of any class. In rough estimate, slightly more than a third of them were the laureates of the second class of the award. To put this into perspective, the total number of recipients of all three classes of the prize increased to 1026 in the following year, reached 1605 in the year of 1950, and expanded to 2691 in 1951.

    It is noteworthy that during the Khurschev's "de- Stalinization", the Stalin Prize was replaced with the newly coined State Prize. The surviving recipients of the Stalin Prize - at least the ones still in the public eye - were required to exchange the "politically incorrect" medals with Stalin's image for the State Prize Medals of the corresponding classes. The returned original awards were then invariably melted down at the mint. Therefore, the availability of the Stalin Prize Medals on today's collectors market is far less than the number of issues alone would suggest.

    Item# 32997


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