Russian (Soviet) Silver Cigarette Case with Soldiers and Horses. Gilt wash interior with hallmarks and cabochon clasp. Measures 4.25 by 3 x .5 inches. Condition is good to very good, clasp works fine. Name Borya” etched inside case. A few spots, retains original patina. 1 only.
The silver hallmark is that of the Moscow art-jewelry collective H.A.YU.S. (or HAYUS) which is the number 875, image of a peasant worker's head, and the delta mark (Moscow Assay Administration) in an oval. It was used from 1927 to 1954 and it's modeled after the 84 hallmark used in Russian prior to 1917.
This silver cigarette case is a unique relic that was presented to S. N. Motsik in June-July of 1943 for the “exemplary fulfillment of Stalin's goals in the production of tanks”. (Obraztsovoye vypolneniye Stalinskogo zadaniya po vypusku tankov.) This dedication has been engraved into the back of the case.
The repousse cover image shows two soldiers in a wooded area, one astride his horse and the other dismounted. One is pointed while the other looks through a spyglass. They are members of the 1st Cavalry of the Red Army, also known as "Budyonny's Cavalry Army".
When the Russian Civil War broke out in 1918, a non-commissioned officer named Semyon Mikhailovich Budyonny (1883-1973) organized a small guerrilla cavalry force in the Don region from out of groups of local Cossacks. It grew quickly and sided with the Bolsheviks, becoming known as red Cossacks. In 1920, Budyonny's Cavalry Army successfully took part in the invasion of Poland and pushed Polish forces out of Ukraine but was stymied at Lvov, which, in turn, led to a defeat for the rest of the Bolshevik forces in the Battle of Warsaw. When Budyonny's Cavalry finally joined in, it too suffered defeat in the Battle of Komarów, which became known as the last great cavalry battle in history. Budyonny rose the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union and was awarded an amazing number of medals, including all four classes of the St. George medal. He escaped the Great Purge of the 1930s due to his friendship with Stalin and his need for popular Civil War heroes. An unusual Word War II (Great Patriotic War) museum piece.