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Rare Coronation Medal of Nicholas I to be Auctioned

14 Aug 2019  Wed

Stack’s Bowers Galleries would be offering a rare Coronation Medal of the Russian emperor Nicholas I, during ANA Auctions on 16th August at Donald E. Stephens Convention Centre in Rosemont. The Platinum medal was struck after the 30-year-old emperor’s coronation on 3rd September 1826. It was designed by Vladimir Alexeev and Grigori Saburov. The obverse side depicts a portrait of Nicholas while the reverse shows the imperial crown on a column with a text that reads “???OHb” (law). The Eye of Providence or God is emitting rays in the background. This design suggests that the monarchy lies between God and law. It also highlights the holy anointing of the Emperor. Only one more example of this type is known to collectors. Even though this example has many contact marks, it was sold for £62,000 in March 2015. Several medals were produced to celebrate the momentous occasion and the offered medal-type was the rarest of all. This type is found in gold, silver, and bronze versions as well. The offered platinum version is not listed in standard references and is considered as a presentation example.

Nicholas was the third son of the Russian Emperor Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Wurttemberg. He was born in 1796 and nobody thought he would ever become eligible for the throne. Paul was assassinated in 1801 by officers whom he had expelled before. His eldest son, Alexander became the next ruler and reigned until 1825 when the Russian Empire witnessed Napoleonic Wars. He also introduced many conservative policies during his regime. Alexander and his younger brothers Constantine and Nicholas thought that they could also be murdered like their father. Alexander died of typhus in 1825 and Constantine was offered the throne as the former did not have any sons. Constantine refused the offer and Nicholas was declared as the next emperor.

The Russian Empire was at its peak when Nicholas I sat on the throne. However, he was inept at handling wars, which eventually led to their defeat in Crimea. He was an autocratic ruler and an inefficient administrator as he did not trust different departments of his own court. Nicholas was just 58 years old when he died of illness on 2nd March 1855, just a year before Russia's defeat in Crimea.

Image Courtesy: Stack’s Bowers Galleries

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