The Bank of Russia is seeing a busy week with the release of no less than seven new commemorative coins across four different series. Two of these are silver commemorative coins struck to the Moscow Mint's usual high standard and affinity for detailed reverse reliefs.
Here I will be covering the 5oz silver 25 Rouble coin from the “Treasury of World Culture” series dedicated to the art of Etienne Maurice Falconet(the other is the “450th Anniversary of the Founding of Orel” 3 Rouble coin). You would be easily forgiven if you are not familiar with this series as it is not the most prominent series issued by the Bank of Russia. In previous years the Treasury of World Culture series have honoured such artists as Giuseppe Verdi(2013) and Michelangelo Bounarroti(2015) that have made significant contributions to our global cultural heritage.
Etienne Maurice Falconet is the subject of the 2016 coin in the series. Falconet was an 18th century French artist known primarily for his sculptures. He worked as a carpenter's apprentice in his youth but soon found success as a sculptor instead. The majority of his work are considered prime examples of the Rococo movement that characterized the late Baroque period. Some of his best know sculptures are “The Bather”(Louvre Museum, Paris), Seated Cupid(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) and “Pygmalion and Galatea”(Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg).
But surely his most renowned sculpture is that of Peter the Great, also known as the Bronze Horsemen, which proudly stands in Senate Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The Equestrian Statue was cast in bronze and rests atop of a carved, natural bolder known as the Thunder Stone. It was originally commissioned by the Russian Empress Catherine the Great. The monument took nearly fourteen years to complete and was finally unveiled in 1782 to what is said to have been a crow of thousands.
The reverse design of the massive 5oz silver coin depicts a three quarter portrait of Falconet facing left to the right of the design. To the left is a detailed reproduction of Falconet's marble statue “Winter” which is currently being conserved by the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.The Bronze Horseman of Peter the Great occupies the background of the design. The inscription “ЭТЬЕН МОРИС ФАЛЬКОНЕ” appears along the rim at the bottom of the coin, the English translation is: “ETIENNE MAURICE FALCONET”.
The obverse depicts the national Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation at the centre. The obverse legend reads : “РОССИЙСКАЯ ФЕДЕРАЦИЯ”(RUSSIAN FEDERATION) at the top along the rim, with “БАНК РОССИИ” (BANK OF RUSSIA), “25 РУБЛЕЙ” (25 ROUBLES) and “2016” appearing at the bottom in three horizontal lines. The obverse legend is completed with “Ag 925” and “155.5” appearing on either side of the state emblem. This indicates that the coin is struck of sterling silver(.925 Fineness) and that it's fine metal weight of 5oz(155.5 gram). The mintmark of the Moscow Mint appears just below the latter.
In keeping with past coins in the series the “Works of Etienne Maurice Falconet” 5oz sterling silver proof coin has a limited mintage of 1000 coins. The coin measures an impressive 60mm(2.362 inch) in diameter with a thickness of 6.6mm(0.26 inch). As stated above the coin has a fine metal weight of 155.5 grams(5oz) for a total weight of 169 gram. The coin is supplied encapsulated with a printed certificate of authenticity.