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German Democratic Republic Deutsche Demokratische Republik 7th October 1949 - 3rd October 1990

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Old 08-18-2004, 10:39 AM   #1
Taz
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General questions/ comments on GDR awards

Here is a thread for the various questions etc. that may arise on GDR awards.

Eddie.
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Old 03-02-2008, 08:09 AM   #2
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More of a comment rather than a question to start this thread off; having started with collecting Soviet awards and watching the incredible price rise followed by an availability dry-up, then moving to Mongolian awards and seeing virtually the same thing, I have moved on to East German awards. I did this for a few reasons: first, I was in Germany during the building of the Wall (1959-1961) and watched it come down on t.v. so it's kind of a homecoming... second, I don't see a lot of competition at present and... third, I have a source that works where I work which is very convenient (he was there when the Wall came down and had money to spend- ex US Air Force).

I have decided to focus on items primarily evolving around the Staatssicherheits (Stasi) or State Security. Hence, I am actively collecting Stasi, Police and Militia medals and badges and associated reading materials. I may, at some point, go toward the Border Guard, but not at present.

I don't know how many of "us" have chosen to go toward the East German end of things, but would enjoy hearing from you from time to time. I have several sources which I have used and will share if interested (aren't I generous?). Once I get my camera recharged, I'll post some items from my collection on the forum- some of the items are reasonably interesting. Until then...
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:11 AM   #3
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I take it you have Ralph Pickard's great reference Stasi Decorations and Memorabilia?
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:40 AM   #4
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Actually I just ordered it from an outfit in North Carolina (begins with the letter "G") late last week... should be to me by tomorrow. Looking forward to it.
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:42 AM   #5
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Hi Greg,

Not so much an avid collector of GDR awards but over the years I have managed to get most of the more common awards.
I like to specialise more in the various acadamy badges though.
When I take a look at the medals my wife describes them as "Schokoladen taler", maybe a little harsh, some are actually nicely made. :)

Regards Eddie.
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:48 PM   #6
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Well, I just received Pickard's book- right on time- and have been pouring over it for the past couple of hours. Outstanding work at first glance! After I have the opportunity to fully ingest it, I'm sure I'll have more to say about it. One aspect which is somewhat disconcerting is the hiding of the identities of nearly 98% of those individuals pictured (I assume they were alive at the publishing). Other than that, and at first glance, a great book.

Yeah Taz, I will agree with your wife somewhat regarding the quality of East German medals- especially when compared with Soviet medals. But, with the exception of orders, the East German medals are generally way above Mongolian medals insofar as quality is concerned. The one (yes- one) East German medal I have that I consider surprisingly poor (for it's level of importance) in this aspect is the Kampforden fur Verdienst um Volk und Vaterland (Order of Merit for the Nation and Fatherland), Bronze grade. It's molded rather than struck and has a cloisonné emblem stuck in the center. Not crazy about that one at all; but necessary for the collection.
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:39 PM   #7
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Yes Greg,

Certainly not the worst made decorations, North Vietnamese and to some extent, North Korean awards spring to mind.
As far as workmanship and overall design goes they cannot be compared with Soviet awards, but do they have to be? I don't really think so.

Regards Eddie.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Collins View Post
One aspect which is somewhat disconcerting is the hiding of the identities of nearly 98% of those individuals pictured (I assume they were alive at the publishing).
Ralph wanted both access to the closed Stasi community and to avoid getting involved in German investigations of its former individuals.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:14 PM   #9
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I certainly understand and agree with Mr. Pickard's reasoning in hiding the identities of the individuals pictured; just a bit hard to look at at first glance. Just got a second in-depth look at the book and found it much less bothersome.

Eddie- in my opinion, there are few awards on the planet that can compare with the design and workmanship of Soviet awards. Having said that, I think we just need to accept the other countries' awards on their own merits and without comparison remembering that what the award was for is more important than the physical award. Of course, you can't collect sentiment; just the trinkets left of a bygone era that, apparently, is not being nearly taught enough to today's generation (most I've spoken with don't understand the term Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact, etc., etc.). And it's a shame.
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:10 PM   #10
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Here's a link to Ralph's excellent book, not just for Stasi freaks, but for the more general East German collector too:

STASI Decorations & Memorabilia - Contents
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