Blogs

Massive Gold Medal for the Birth of Alexander I

This
week’s highlight from our August 2017 Official Auction at the ANA World’s Fair
of Money in Denver, Colorado is a gold medal commemorating the birth of
Alexander I. In last week’s blog we discussed the quantity of Russian related
medals and the fact that many are not known struck in gold and are unlisted in
Mikhail Diakov’s impressive work “Medals of the Russian Empire.” As a follow up
to last week’s highlight about the coronation of Paul I this week we highlight
the birth of his first son Alexander Pavlovich who would become Alexander I. The
obverse of the offered medal depicts the crowned and laureate bust of Catherine
II (the Great) right, legend around. The reverse displays a crowned robed female
with arm extending toward beams of light facing left holding an infant, altar
and shield with the arms of Russia to left, legend to left, four line
inscription in exergue.

Alexander
I, born Alexander Pavlovich was the first child of Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich
(Paul I) and Grand Duchess Maris Fyodorvna. He was raised by his grandmother
Empress Catherine II (the Great) who had disinherited her own son (Paul I) due
to his instability. Alexander received a fine education from Frederic-Cesar La
Harpe who was an excellent teacher. When Alexander reached adolescence he was
allowed to visit his father at Gatchina on the outskirts of St. Petersburg
where he received his military training from Aleksey Andreyevich to whom he became
quite attached and whom Alexander loved throughout his life. When Catherine II
died Paul I ascended the throne and plunged Russia into a dark period with his
tyrannical and bizarre behavior. After a five-year reign Paul I was
assassinated during the night of March 23 (March 11, Old style) and Alexander
became tsar the following day. The new Emperor was seen as a radiant dawn after
the darkness of his father giving his people new hope. He was very well liked
by his subjects and made vast improvements to his country, correcting many of
the injustices of his father. One of his principal achievements was the reform
of public education and he founded three new universities. At one point he
considered a constitution that would limit the autocracy, but feared the
backlash of the nobility. When his estranged wife fell ill he decided to take
her to Taganrog on the Azov Sea where they were content. While in Taganrog he
decided to tour the Crimea for inspection and contracted either pneumonia or
malaria. He died on his return to Taganrog.

We
are no longer accepting consignments for our August 2017 Official Auction of
the ANA World’s Fair of Money. We are however currently taking consignments of
world and ancient coins and world paper money for our October Collectors Choice
Online (CCO) auction and our January 2018 New York International Numismatic
Convention (NYINC) Auction. If you are interested in consigning your coins and
paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to
contact one of our consignment directors.


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