The Saint George the Victorious 3 Ruble silver bullion coin honors the famous Roman soldier and military officer vaunted in European legend and revered by Christians.
Born circa 275-281 CE, Saint George served in the Roman army and later became a Christian martyr after he refused to renounce his Christian faith before an emperor. Scholars debate many aspects of Saint George’s life as related in tradition–including the epic story in which he slays a dragon. However, most historians agree St. George did indeed exist and believe he was born to Christian parents of Greek heritage from either Turkey or Palestine.
George’s parents died when he was a teenager. Subsequently, he volunteered himself as a soldier in the service of Roman emperor Diocletian (ruled 284-305).
George climbed the military ranks and was made a Tribunus, serving as an imperial guard for the emperor in Nicomedia. On February 24, 303, Diocletian mandated the arrest of all Christian soldiers in his army and required all other soldiers to offer a sacrifice in the name of contemporary Roman gods. George refused to take part, even rejecting the emperor’s bribe of land and money.
Diocletian soon ordered his execution. On April 23, 303, George was beheaded.
Christians later honored George as a martyr, and in the 490s pope Gelasius canonized him as a saint.
The Central Bank of the Russian Federation introduced the St. George the Victorious 3 Ruble silver bullion coin to the public on January 11, 2009. The first year of the program saw mintages reach 280,000 pieces, and production steadily increased to as high as 500,000 pieces in 2010. The precious metal fineness in both the silver and gold coins is 99.9-percent pure, and with few exceptions the coins are struck in an uncirculated finish.
The obverse of the three-ruble silver coin features the two-headed eagle designed by noted Russian illustrator and revolutionary Ivan Bilibin in 1917. Bilibin’s eagle is essentially the same as the double-headed eagle that served as the imperial symbol of Russia except for the fact that the crowns have been removed from its two heads.
On this coin, it serves as the emblem of the Bank of Russia. Beneath the two-headed eagle is the inscription БАНК РОССИИ, a phrase translating to “BANK OF RUSSIA.” The eagle and Bank of Russia feature are encircled by tiny dots. Between the circular arrangement of dots and the rim are the following inscriptions: “ТРИ РУБЛЯ” (THREE RUBLES) across the top center; “Ag 999” (0.999 silver); and the date followed by the mintmark for the Saint Petersburg Mint.
On the lower right is the number 31,1, which refers to the coin’s bullion weight in grams (31.1 grams); above the weight is a small symbol that serves as the mint’s trademark. The obverse was designed by A.V. Baklanov.
A full-field image of Saint George on horseback slaying a dragon covers the majority of the coin’s reverse, also designed by A.V. Baklanov. The St. George and the dragon motif is based on popular imagery that has its origins in the Middle Ages. The dragon is featured in several stories about Saint George, and is the antagonist in several “good versus evil” plots. Considered an allegorical representation of the Devil by scholars and theologians, it is also a symbol of the ego to folklorists and psychologists such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Carl Jung.
Saint George was often invoked by Christian crusaders in Europe during the Crusades in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.
Designer(s): A.V. Baklanov is an artist/engraver who has worked on numerous coins for the Bank of Russia.
|Years Of Issue:||2009-present|
|Alloy:||.999 Fine Silver|
|OBV Designer||Ivan Bilibin/A.V. Baklanov|
|REV Designer||A.V. Baklanov|
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