The Medal for Zeal was first instituted in December 1801 during the reign of Tsar Alexander I. After the death of Alexander I, the medal was reissued in 1825, on 27 January 1841 and on 8 January 1848 decorated with the image of the new Sovereign, Tsar Nicholas I. The medal was primarily awarded to citizens who had shown exceptional zeal in trade, production and social fields in peacetime as well as in wartime.
For a similar medal see:
D. I. Peters, Awards and medals of Russia, 19th- beginning of the 20th centuries, Moscow, 1989, p. 139, illustrated.