Copies" of the Gold Star Medal. Fact or Fiction?
Henry Sakaida & A. Bates
Dawn" luster is not easily duplicated. Fake awards are sometime
cast with a metal that appears to mirror-polished or overly pale or
overly yellow. Forgers have even went so far as to create fakes from
Author Henry Sakaida, while in Ukraine conducting research for an
upcoming book on women heroine's of the Soviet Union had the opportunity
to try and find more information regarding the "wearer's copy".
After interviewing Hero of the Soviet Union Mariya
Dolina for his book, they began to talk about her medal.
Major Dolina also happened to be wearing a copy of the medal herself.
to the frequently seen copies today, Major Dolina's copy is much more
simple in construction. The serial number of the original award was
stamped on the reverse. Major Dolina explained that after the collapse
of the Soviet Union, the government recommended that all Heroes wear
copies because there were attempts to rip them off clothing while they
were worn in public. She said people were assaulting recipients for
the Order of Lenin, and the Order of the Red Banner because of their
gold and silver content. Most unfortunate she added, was a crime in
the 1990's involving the murder of a woman heroine and her granddaughter
for a gold star and some other awards during a forced entry robbery.
The criminal targeted the hero specifically for the awards. This woman
heroine was Guards Maj Yevdokia ("Nina") Nikulina. A Russian,
born 8 November 1917, and received the HSU on 26 October 1944. She served
in the 588th Night Fighter Regiment and was a "Night Witch"
who flew the PO-2 biplane (basically a crop duster) to bomb the Germans.
She accomplished 774 sorties during the war. After the war, she returned
to civilian aviation. From 1948 until 1980, she worked for the Rostov
Communist Party and then retired. This was an unfortunate tragedy. Time
was of the essence, and it was time for Henry to continue his research.
He visited the Kiev
War Museum and noticed one of the exhibits consisted
of a display of medals awarded to Ukrainian Partisan leader, General
Sidor Kovpak. The display contained two heroes stars which Henry noticed
were obviously copies. Henry asked the museum guide if these awards
were original and the museum guide replied "yes". Henry later
commented, "The two Hero Stars were definitely copies, although
the museum guide said they were originals. I know my Hero Stars and
these were too crude to be originals. If you check them out closely,
you can see that they are copies" Henry reminisced about past excursions
to Kiev, such as a trip he made 1998. "The Heroes I met in Kiev
in 1998 were all wearing shiny copies...brilliantly polished, and real
gold doesn't give off such a polish." (continued)
Maj. Mariya Dolina's copy of the Gold Star for Hero of the Soviet
Union. It appeared to have been made of lead with gold-plate.
Notice the serial number used from the original award. BELOW:
Another copy of the Hero Star, constructed of brass. Notice the
relative crudeness in construction of these with those sold on
the market today as "wearer's copies".