STASI Decorations and Memorabilia: A Collector’s Guide, by Ralph Pickard. (ISBN 978-0-9797199-0-5, Frontline Historica Publishing, P.O. Box 79, Lorton, VA 22199; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: www.frontlinehistorical.com. Hardcover, 8-3/4" x 11-1/4", 248 pages, fully illustrated in color and black-and-white, 2007, $79.00)
Author Ralph Pickard has tackled a topic that recently emerged as a vibrant collecting market—medals and awards of one of the major, former Eastern Bloc nations. Following the end of the Cold War, East Germany militaria flooded the market. However, very little was available to guide m ilitary collectors in making astute decisions—that is, until now (at least as far as medals are concerned).
STASI Decoration and Memorabilia delves into the awards issued by the East German Ministry for State Security, (“MfS” but better known as the “STASI”). The Stasi was a central player in maintaining police control and led intelligence activities for East Germany. STASI provides a new and unique chapter of written and photographic history related to the organization and items that were presented or awarded to its members throughout the Cold War.
Researchers, historians and collectors with an interest in the Cold War or East Germany’s security organization will appreciate the data in the book. A large portion of the book provides detailed information on the different award documents and timelines of when these documents were in use. This might put off a few traditional medal collectors who just want to see the obverse and reverse of the medals. The author has provided a valuable first step towards understanding the awards and the people who received them.—JAG