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Collection Highlights

Seals Badges and Insignia Orders Medals Coins

Russian and foreign orders and decorations are represented by more than 2,500 pieces. The Russian orders (over 500) and badges and insignia (over 100) were part of the honours system in Russia before the Revolution of 1917.

Amongst the most valuable items we should note a badge of the order of St Andrew with chains; a miniature star of the same order which once belonged toGrand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich; an excellent range of embroidered stars; early badges of the orders of Alexander Nevsky and St Anne; badges of the order of St Catherine. Of particular interest amongst 19th-century pieces are badges of St George and St Vladimir with inscriptions recording long service, badges of the orders of St Anne and St Stanislaw, plus various badges of the Military Order of St George awarded to soldiers and non-commissioned officers, with examples from each year of issue.

Of particular interest are the badges of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, the famous Maltese Order, which were for a short while decorations of the Russian state. There are unique stars which combine the star of St Andrew and English Order of the Garter, once belonging to Alexander I, the Order of St Vladimir and the Order of the Garter - the property of Nicholas I, and also a private medal ribbon given to Nicholas II after 1915.

The major part of the Russian section consists of items made in the Soviet Union after the1930s. A number of orders are also represented by first models and early interpretations. Of particular interest are orders introduced during World War II, including the Order of Victory, created in a jeweller's workshop and acquired by the museum in 1985 on the 40th anniversary of the victory. The latest important acquisition was a complete set of current Russian decorations, in all 101 items.

The Hermitage has the best collection of foreign orders in Russia, with over 1,000 items. Of great interest are Spanish and Austrian versions of the Order of the Golden Fleece, and badges and stars of the Order of the Legion d'Honneur, instituted by Napoleon in 1804: the images and inscriptions on the latter reflect political events in France over nearly two centuries. There are exceedingly rare examples of the Turkish badge of the Order of the Crescent, the Imperial Military Order of St Faustin (Haiti), several badges of orders instituted by Napoleon I, including the Order of the Iron Crown. The Polish section includes several interesting examples of order-like badges of religious congregations and two very old badges of the Order of the White Eagle.

But the gems of the collection are the badge of the defunct Austrian Order of the Slaves of Virtue, the chain badge and star of the French Order of Saint-Esprit, instituted by the last French king of the Valois family, Henri III, and a collection of Spanish decorations from the Napoleonic wars and the wars for the Spanish throne in the 1830s to 1860s. Decorations of the Kingdom of Bukhara mark an unusual and highly valuable part of the foreign collection.

Decoration Medal for the Battle of Kalish
Full description

Order of Victory
Soviet Union
Full description

If you enjoyed this collection, you might want to also visit the other collections at the State Hermitage Museum.

The Arsenal

Badge of the Order of Saint-Esprit
First half of the 19th century
Full description

Badge of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
19th century
Full description

Badge of the Order of Alexander Nevsky
Late 18th-early 19th centuries
Full description

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