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Медаль в память царствования императора Александра III

Alexander III Reign Commemorative Medal

Alexander III Reign Commemorative Medal was instituted by the son of the deceased Emperor, Nicholas II by his Personal Imperial Decree to the Senate No.12551 dated the 26th day of February 1896, in conjunction with the 51st anniversary of Alexander III birthday (26.02.1845-20.10.1894). Initially the medal was issued to “hierarchs, the clergy, generals, staff and subaltern officers as well as officials with class rankings of all the state departments” who were in active service during the reign of Alexander III (01.03.1881-20.10.1894).

Full text of the institution document is posted below.

“12551. – February 26. Personal Imperial Decree issued to the Senate (Statute Book 1896, February 26, Article 238). – On institution of the Alexander III Reign Commemorative Medal.
Dearly beloved parent of Us led Our dear Fatherland steadily along the path of glory by virtue of His wise reign and without unsheathing the sword. He left His blessed Name forever in hearts of His loyal subjects by introducing peace and reassurance far and wide.
Now, on the 51st anniversary of His birthday, We instituted silver medal bearing image of Our Parent as a token of remembrance of Tsar the Peacemaker, to be issued to companions of the deceased Emperor who assisted Him in His deeds. May it serve a constant remembrance of inspiring image of the selfless Sovereign Ruler who governed for the sake of the Fatherland.
The medal introduced is to be worn on the chest suspended from the ribbon of the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky by hierarchs, the clergy, generals, staff and subaltern officers as well as officials with class rankings of all the state departments who were in active service during the past reign.
The Ruling Senate will not fail to issue further notice to fulfill this.
The original is Personally signed by His Imperial Majesty: “NICHOLAS”.

The statute was subsequently supplemented by seven separate Imperial Decrees of Nicholas II that granted decoration and wearing of the medal to ladies who worked in various state agencies and held positions equal to class ranked ones. Here’s the complete list of those Imperial Decrees:

1. Imperial Behest of May 31, 1897 announced by the Minister of Justice “On approval of lists of positions held by female subjects entitled to wear medal instituted by the ukase to the Ruling Senate on the 26th day of February 1896 (12551) commemorating Emperor Alexander III who passed away in the Lord”. This Amendment listed positions in the Ministry of War (Medical Corps, Cossack Troops); Ministry of the Navy; religious community; Ministry of Justice; Chancellery of Empress Maria (that dealt with charity issues such as education of females, orphanage, disabled persons and healthcare); Almshouse for mental patients established by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Alexander Alexandrovich on February 26, 1870; State Secretariat of  Grand Duchy of Finland; Headquarters of Russian Red Cross Society.  

2. Imperial Behest of June 10, 1897 announced by the Minister of Justice “List of positions approved by His Imperial Majesty in the Ministry of National Education held by female subjects entitled to wear medal commemorating Emperor Alexander III who passed away in the Lord”.

3. Imperial Behest of November 08, 1898 announced by the Minister of Justice “On approval of lists of positions in departments of His Imperial Majesty’s Own Chancery and Chief Prison Department held by female subjects entitled to wear medal instituted by the ukase to the Ruling Senate on the 26th day of February 1896 (12551) commemorating Emperor Alexander III who passed away in the Lord”. This Amendment listed positions in numerous charity institutions under August patronage of His Imperial Majesty, Her Imperial Majesty The Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich, Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna, Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna, Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna, Her Imperial Highness Princess Eugenia Maximilianovna of Oldenburg; under August presidency of His Imperial Highness Grand Duke  Sergei Alexandrovich; under honorary patronage of His Imperial Highness Duke Eugen Maximilianovich Romanowsky, Duke of Leuchtenberg; under guardianship of His Highness Prince Alexander Petrovich of Oldenburg. Amendment also listed four charity institutions that didn’t enjoy any Imperial patronage and five positions within Chief Prison Department.

4. Imperial Behest of March 27, 1899 announced by the Minister of Justice “On approval of list of positions in Post and Telegraph Department held by female subjects entitled to wear medal instituted by the ukase to the Ruling Senate on the 26th day of February 1896 (12551) commemorating Emperor Alexander III who passed away in the Lord”. This Amendment listed two positions in postal telegraph and telegraph offices and stations and sole position in telephone houses.

5. Imperial Behest of December 16, 1899 announced by the Minister of Justice “On approval of list of positions in the Ministry of Internal Affairs held by female subjects entitled to wear medal instituted by the ukase to the Ruling Senate on the 26th day of February 1896 (12551) commemorating Emperor Alexander III who passed away in the Lord”.

6. Imperial Behest of April 05, 1901 announced by the Minister of Justice “On approval of list of positions in the Ministry of Agriculture and State Domains held by female subjects entitled to wear medal instituted by the ukase to the Ruling Senate on the 26th day of February 1896 (12551) commemorating Emperor Alexander III who passed away in the Lord”. This Amendment listed nine positions totally, eight of which related to Mineral Water Spa Resorts personnel in Pyatigorsk, Zheleznovodsk, Essentuki, Kislovodsk, Staraya Russa and Lipetsk, while one related to female custodians of agricultural schools for girls.

7. Imperial Behest of February 21, 1905 announced by the Minister of Justice “On granting of the right to wear medal instituted by the ukase to the Ruling Senate on the 26th day of February 1896 (12551) commemorating Emperor Alexander III who passed away in the Lord to female subjects of the Saint Petersburg Municipal Barracks Hospital in memory of S.P.Botkin who held positions of sisters of charity, medical assistants, housekeeper and linen keeper during the past reign”.

Design of an obverse was elaborated by a class-ranked artist of the 1st degree of the Saint Petersburg Mint Avraam-Shmerko Griliches (1849 or 1852-24.04.1912), also referred to as Griliches Son or Griliches II in official documents. Design of a reverse was created by Michel Gabe (1842-1908) who also worked at the Mint of Saint Petersburg as engraver of the medalist section.

An obverse showed bust of the Emperor Alexander III facing right with initials of engraver “A.G.” (“А.Г.”) standing for Avraam Griliches placed at the bottom of the late ruler’s neck. Laurel branch was placed at the left, while an inscription in capital letters “Emp.[eror] Alexander III” (“Имп.[ераторъ] Александръ III”) executed in old spelling and running in semi-circle was situated on the right. Middle of a reverse had two dates, “1881 1894” in two lines standing for the years of the late monarch’s reign. The Great Imperial Crown was situated above and Latin-shaped cross – below.

Alexander III Reign Commemorative Medal was worn on the left side of the tunic or suit suspended from a traditional pentagonal bar. Silk ribbon of the decoration was that of the Imperial Order of St.Alexander Nevsky, i.e. plain red. Female recipients wore decoration on traditional women bow.

Round medal measuring 28 mm in diameter and weighing 11,4 g approximately had an eyelet for ribbon suspension soldered to its upper part. Decoration was made of silver, though rare pieces struck of white metal are known to exist as well. A total of 299,765 medals for official issue were manufactured at the Saint Petersburg Mint.

Medals produced by private manufacturers are differing in minor details, such as shape of an eyelet for ribbon suspension; Greek-shaped cross instead of the Latin one on reverse; type of the topping element of the Great Imperial Crown (dotted rim instead of the small cross). Privately manufactured medals generally bore makers’ marks on eyelets. 

Silver miniatures measuring 11,5-15,5 m were manufactured as well. 

Alexander 3 Reign Commemorative Medal 1