The extraordinary Russian medal collections of Walter Alexander Mooromsky

Walter Alexander Mooromsky was born April 29, 1927, in China, to Russian parents. His father, Alexander Petrovitch Mooromsky, had been born near Penza, south-east of Moscow, at the end of the 19th century and it is due to him that his son developed a love of his fatherland.

The exact date of the senior Mooromsky's birth is a mystery as he lied about his age to get in to the Tsar's Army. In 1917, he joined the White Army to fight the Bolsheviks. He was in the first White Army to reach Ekaterinburg after the Royal Romanov family was murdered and saw the site.

The remnant of the White Army in Eastern Russia realised they needed to leave their beloved Motherland and they walked across the Gobi Desert to escape the Reds. Only a fraction survived this journey.

Order of the White Eagle medal
Order of the White Eagle (est $30,000)
(Click to enlarge)

Arriving in Harbin, China, Alexander met Zoya Anoufrovna Rogulsky and they were married there. Their son Vladimir Alexandrovitch was born in Tientsin. As a family they emigrated to California, arriving in San Francisco - Angel Island - in March 1930.

At this point Vladimir Alexandrovitch was renamed Walter Alexander. Walter attended Lowell High School and graduated from the University of California Berkeley. He served proudly in both the US Navy and the US Army in WWII and Korea.

He was a long time employee and executive with Levi Strauss & Co, which moved him to Brussels.

He returned to the US in the early 1980s via a three year stay in Montreal, Canada. His interests were many, as were his passions and loyalties. He was deeply proud of his Russian heritage, always finding the time to participate in various Russian activities.

Black enamel Order of St Anne Russian medal
Black enamel Order of St Anne Russian medal

Mooromsky carried on his family's love and honour of Mother Russia, and started his collection of Russian orders and decorations while living in Belgium in the 1960s and 1970s. There he had ready access to some of the great auction houses and dealers of Europe, enabling him to build his collection.

The collection, which is to be sold in January through the combined efforts of Baldwin's, Dmitry Markov and M & M Numismatics has some spectacular highlights which are likely to excite Russia's rapidly growing number of medal collectors.

A neck badge for the Order of the White Eagle - awarded to those who had already been awarded the Order of St Andrew the First is a fantastic, problem-free gold and enamel multipiece construction, which is expected to bring $30,000.

Another highlight is a cross representing the Order of St Anne, First Class, of the rather spectacular Flat Black Enamel type and described by the auctioneer as very rare, choice and problem free should bring $30,000.

Order of St Staninslaus medal
Order of St Stanislaus (listed at $75,000)
(Click to enlarge)

Arguably the most spectacular piece for collectors is an Order of St Stanislaus, Second Class Cross with Imperial Crown by Julius Keibel. Superbly preserved, the crowned red enamelled gold cross is expected to bring $75,000. All of the estimates are quite likely to prove over-cautious.

Walter Alexander Mooromsky died on December 17, 2003 and was survived by his wife Dorothy (Dempy); son Lev (Walt); daughter Zoya Chittum (Mike); and granddaughters Lara and Sasha.

To him his collection was about keeping alive the memory and honouring the country of his ancestors.

His family noted that he had left a "lifetime of wonderful memories" and hope that his collection will continue to represent memories, pride and honour in the hands of others.


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