Order of St George Russian gold coin could bring $134,000 at Kuenker

Given the success of Russian coins and medals in recent times, notably at Baldwin's, it's always exciting to see another selection of high quality pieces coming onto the market. So it's with some pleasure that we can report that Kuenker Auctions is holding another auction quite shortly.

There are many investment-grade pieces in the sale which we'll try to cover in due course. But for now we'll focus on one lot.

Coins and military medals are generally placed together in a sale, but of course many collectors will not be interested in both. However, the lot leading the current auction bridges the gap, as it is a commemorative coin which marks the centenary of one of Russia's rarest medals.

The St George's Order of Merit in Russia was the only one which had a purely military character when it was founded, and was thus the highest military decoration the country.

The idea to establish a military order was brought up in the year 1765 by Catherine II, who wanted to award medals and pins for years of service in the army and navy.

Russian coin commemorating the Order of St George
Russian coin commemorating the Order of St George
(Click to enlarge)

Although there were already statutes modelled on the Austrian Military Order of Maria Theresa worked out, it was not until 26 November 1769 that the country saw the foundation of the famous St. George's Order, which was intended as a reward for bravery in the field.

Overall, the order was given in four classes, with the first class award occuring the least often. To date there have only been 25 winners of the Grand Cross Order of George, which include Empress Catherine II, Charles XIV John of Sweden, Louis XVIII of France, Czar Alexander II and William I of Prussia.

Even Tsars and other monarchs were often only awarded the third or the fourth class of the Order, such as Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria.

On the 100th anniversary of the Order's foundation, a gold commemorative coin was created by V. Alexeev and P. Mescheryakov, which weighs 253g and is now of the utmost rarity.

Featuring the busts of Catherine II and Tsar Alexander II, it will lead Kuenker's auction with a stunning estimate of €100,000 ($134,000) on January 27 in Berlin and online.

 

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