"Wearer's Copies" of the Gold Star Medal. Fact or Fiction?
by Henry Sakaida & A. Bates

The "Glowing 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 solid gold.
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.
Major Dolina's wearer's copy
ABOVE: 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".
Another wearer's copy
In comparison 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)


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