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Polish Soviet war medal 1918-1921

Article about: Hi I recently picked this medal up, I don't collect Polish medals but I liked the way it looked and I thought it was from a very interesting and important war that has basically been forgott

  1. #1

    Default Polish Soviet war medal 1918-1921

    Hi I recently picked this medal up, I don't collect Polish medals but I liked the way it looked and I thought it was from a very interesting and important war that has basically been forgotten about by history. I paid 40 dollars for this and I do not think I will become a collector of this genre although I would like a Monte Cassino cross one day.Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Polish Soviet war medal 1918-1921

    Hello David,

    Welcome to the forum, the Commemorative Medal for the War of 1918-1921 was established by the Polish Government on the 21st September 1928, followed a week later by the Commemorative Medal of Ten Years Restored Independence (more commonly known as the Independence Medal)

    These 2 medals are some of the best designed medals by the Polish Government, espescially the 1918-1921 War Medal, After Poland regained its independence in November 1918 it fought 6 Wars to establish its borders.

    The ribbon denotes the colours of the Virtuti Militari and the Cross of Valour. the obverse of the Medal has the dates 1918 & 1921 along with the Crowned Eagle around its neck is the ribbon for the Cross Virtuti Militari. The reverse has the inscription "Polski swemu obroncy" (Poland for her Defender).

    The old saying from little acorns large oaks grow, I started collecting in the 1970's, at that time I was not interested in collecting awards of the 2nd Republic only medals awarded during WW2. Eventually I ended up with 37 Monte Cassino Cross groups, a Squadron Leaders medals from 317 & 316 Squadron and much much more.

    I had to wait nearly 10 years to purchase a 1918-1921 War Commemorative Medal and now have over 10, so you might say that you may not collect anything else bar a Monte Cassino Cross, but believe me when I say, never say never.

    Best wishes

    Andrzejku

    p.s. Happy collecting

  3. #3

    Default Re: Polish Soviet war medal 1918-1921

    Thanks for the reply and I didn't know what the colours stood for on the ribbon it is always nice to learn something new! basically I collect French medals at the moment and I have a fairy large collection of Soviet orders and British campaign medals. The problem I see with Polish militaria is that it seems like it is a hobby full of fakes just like German militaria. And what I learned from my years of collecting is the best way to learn about medals and orders is to handle original ones in person, the only problem is I don't know anyone who collects this genre. This is why I am kind of weary about polish medals despite the incredibly interesting history Poland has had. Too me third Reich stuff is highly over rated and the Russians, French and British have much more of a interesting history in my opinion anyway.

    Can you tell me why the back of my ribbon is sewn together when I have seen other ribbons with a clip holding the back of the ribbon together? Were there many manufactures of these medals?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Polish Soviet war medal 1918-1921

    Hello David,

    Originally it would have been a hook and eye fastening at the back of the ribbon adopted by the Polish in 1928, but if this medal had at some point in its past been mounted in a group I would expect to see it sewn.

    On the reverse of your medal just above the 6'O Clock position there is the National Mint mark a small arrow, on occassions I have seen them without the National Mint mark.

    Hopefully Tony will be able to add more information.

    Once again

    Best wishes

    Andrzejku

  5. #5

    Default Re: Polish Soviet war medal 1918-1921

    Hi David and welcome to the War Relics Forum,

    Chiming in late on this one. Andrzejku correctly identifies this medal as the Commemorative Medal for the War of 1918-1921, and it was awarded to both military and civilian personnel who took part in all of the border wars, not just the Polish - Soviet war.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In Stefan Oberleitner’s reference on Polish Second Republic decorations, only the Polish National Mint is identified as a pre-war maker in Poland.

    There were also two scarcely seen French made types, both marked “Bronze” on the edge in the typical French manner.

    This example which has what appears to be “AB” as a maker mark (Arthus Bertrand - ??):

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    And this unmarked one with the characteristic French style ball suspension:

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    As far as the ribbons, there’s some evidence suggesting that this and other decorations such as the Medal/Cross of Independence and 10-years of Independence medal were issued with a simple length of ribbon, roughly 5 inches (13cm) long. Awards to military personnel after 1928 may have had the plain length of ribbon substituted by ribbon with the hook-eye fastening as this design was intended for mounting to uniforms using the revised system introduced at this time. This replaced the earlier French style uniform mounting that used the metal rod with ball ends. It’s also possible that the hook-eye ribbon was optional and left to the recipient to purchase at an extra cost. Of course, ribbons being subject to wear and tear did occasionally require periodic replacement and therefore were made available for purchase.

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Regards,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

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