Hardcover: 409 pages
Publisher: Historical Research Llc; 1St Edition edition (May 1, 1997)
Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.8 x 11.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #2,850,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #26 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Coins & Medals > Medals #640 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Military #6089 in Books > Reference > Encyclopedias & Subject Guides > Antiques & Collectibles
Having been a collector of Soviet militaria since 1993, I have yet to find a more complete, fact-filled book than this one. No other book, including Russian publications, even comes close. Close up photos, front and back, showing every variant of every Soviet order or medal make this "the" book for collectors. Photos and tips on how to spot fakes are provided throughout, as well.It's expensive and can be difficult to find, but well worth it.
Being a relative newcomer to collecting Soviet Militaria, but collecting German Militaria for years, I found the book to be the best all around book on medals that I have ever read. This book details in very clear color photographs the intricacies of the medals of the Soviet Union. I would recommend this book strongly for anyone who is interested in Soviet Militaria or even Militaria in general as it is an excellent resource book.
This is the best book on medal collecting out there. Period. Combining detailed, color pictures, specific award criteria and a comprehensive thoroughness it easily outdistances any other medal collectors guide in *any* field (Third Reich, British, American, Imperial German (would that there was one even half as good as this)). Only Previtera's "The Iron Time" can match it in quality and "The Iron Time" is limited to investigating one award (The Prussian Iron Cross) so it has a very narrow focus despite it being a five star book in it's own right. Schmitt & McDaniel's book has set a very high bar that any "comprehensive" medal collector's book issued in the future will have a struggle to match. Not only that the publication of this book helps legitamize the collecting of the "evil empire's" awards unlike any other publication from the past. Well worth it's price.
The fall of the Iron Curtain allowed the collectors of orders and decorations to buy Soviet "signs of honour" at very reasonable prices (many of us remember what the price of a Red Banner order was in the '70s!). The main problem to collectors was where to obtain informations. Most books were (and still are) written in Russian and the linguistical barrier was another thick "curtain"; more, the defect of Soviet reference books was that any topic was "filtered" through ideology, and who wasn't provided with a big sense of humour wouldn't appreciate them fully. I am one of the lucky ones having no problems at all into reading russian but, when this book was published, I've looked for a copy immediately. All my expectations were fulfilled: this "guide" shows that the authors have a strong background, both historical and social, about the USSR, other than the enthusiasm of the true collectors. After having read it thoroughly, I can say that no "trade secret" was kept, and any useful details and informations were given. Each year, many books on orders and decorations are published, but most are just trying to fill gaps in this branch of the social studies (yes, I can honestly say that phaleristic could really be an aspect of sociology). This book actually fills a gap. It is interesting to know that some collectors from the former Soviet Union already appreciate this work highly. The details about fakes are very interesting, but like any reference about the "problem #1 of collecting", it is outdated in the same moment it comes out of the press. I think that "The Comprehensive Guide", in the future, will be a collection piece itself.
If you have any interest in collecting Soviet orders and medals, this is the only book you'll need. Every other reference on this subject I've read isn't even close to this one in detail, information, history and variants. From the earliest days of the revolution to the fall of the USSR, this book has detailed info for them all.My only complaint is that it's a bit outdated when describing known fakes. For example, for the Order of Nevsky (probably the one medal who's value is increasing the fastest) the author lists no known fakes of sufficient quality to consider. That may have been true then, but not today. I've seen fake Nevsky's that are completely indistinguishable from the real thing, even when compared side-by-side. If it's worth enough money, someone will fake it.
Collectors of Soviet orders and medals have been in dire need of a reference book of this type. Usefull to both beginner and advanced collectors. The book covers rarity, variations and fakes of all known Soviet orders and medals. If you are a serious collector this is the only book you'll need!
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