The Moscow Mint of Goznak has struck three coins of the “Ancient Cities of Russia” series 18.07.2016
The coins with the face value of 10 roubles of base metals of white and yellow colours have the diameter of 27 mm. they were minted in the number of five million pieces of each kind.
On the reverse of each of the coins, there is a view of the ancient city and the coat of arms of the city. The name of the series – “Ancient Cities of Russia” – is struck in a circumferential direction.
Andrey Brynza, an artist of the Design Center of Goznak, is the author of sketches of all the three coins.
According to Andrey Brynza, the artists treat the coin series with care and always try to fit the image into the framework of the tradition and the series concept.
“When I started working at the Mint, the series had already been struck for quite a long time, its concept had been determined and stabilized artistically. Therefore, both I and the other artists have preserved the stylistics carefully when working upon another coin of the series”.
Creativity simply remains within a certain framework, and the artist expresses himself via the choice of the theme, the aspect angle etc. perhaps it is not so obvious, but it can’t be rejected. Give a task to two artists, and each of them will make it their own way in a realistic manner and the series style. Studying the material, I abide in it all, and it depends on me as an artist, how I will offer to build the coin composition. One’s attitude to image object remains always.
However, the work upon the coins of the series remains creative and interesting for the artist.
“It is necessary to organize the artistic space of the coin, to locate the real objects of the city in such a way so that they would harmonize the space and dovetail into one another by supplementing and strengthening one another”.
Before an artist starts drawing, he carries out a very interesting job – he brushes up the ancient history of the city, observes the modern photographs of its views, the map, the ancient monuments of history and architecture still existing and the modern image of the city.
“The majority of cities depicted on the coins of the series count their history since the 12th or the 16th century. The surviving buildings, churches, bridges usually refer to the 19th century. Besides, new modern dominants not less important for the history of the city and its citizens are incorporated into the historical images of the cities”.
Thus, for example, when we worked upon the “Velikie Luki” coin sketch, the city administration asked us to include the image of the monument to Alexander Matrosov and the memorial obelisk to the citizens who died during the Great Patriotic war. Therefore the coin dedicated to Velikie Luki there are two historical periods, one showing the surviving church of the 19th century and the other – the monument to heroes of the Great Patriotic war.
The coin dedicated to the city of Zubtsov features a still existing historical artifact– an earth mound that has protected the city since the time of its foundation. A modern bridge connecting the ancient history with today is depicted against its background, and a church of the 19th century is another link.
Such elements – ancient fortresses, prisons, fortifications, churches of the 19th century and modern monuments of history and architecture – are presented on the coins of the series.
“The coin dedicated to Rzhev also features a bridge. Rzhev, just like the majority of the ancient Russian cities, is located on both sides of the river, and it was important to reflect the fact on the coin”, said Andrey Brynza. “Unfortunately, an artist working upon the sketches of the “Ancient Cities of Russia” series has a very limited choice. In the best case, there are only fragments of the times of the city foundation remaining in small Russian cities, and often nothing at all. A church is a dominant in the city view and consequently the coin; it is also a steady component of the Russian cities. There remain quite few variants of the city image that deserves to be depicted on the coin and would look well on it. Moreover, it is important for the artist’s vision to tally with that of the citizens, what is the most important object of the city, what the inhabitants believe to be the symbol of the city”.
“When working with coins, it is also important to remember that if the sketch contains the modern symbols, after a while these symbols will also become history of the city and will remain on the coin for a very long time. It is on coins that the history not preserved in the buildings and monuments comes to the future generations”, concluded Andrey Brynza.
The first coins of the series were minted in 2002 and dedicated to the cities of Derbent, Kostroma, Staraya Russa. In 2003, coins with the images of the cities of Pskov, Dorogobuzh, Murom and Kasimov were added to the series. Coins dedicated to Dmitrov, Ryazhsk and Kem were struck in 2004.
The coins of 2005 were dedicated to Kaliningrad, Kazan, Mtsensk and Borovsk. In 2006, the series continued with coins featuring Belgorod, Torzhok and Kargopol. In 2007, coins dedicated to Vologda, Velikiy Ustyug and Gdov were minted. In 2008 coins with Smolensk, Priozersk, Azov and Vladimir were added
In 2010 Bryansk and Yurievets, and in 2011 Solikamsk and Yelets were depicted on the coins. In 2012 only one coin with the image of Belozersk was issued. No coins of the series were minted in the following years, and only in 2016 coins with the images of Zubtsov, Velikie Luki and Rzhev were added to the series.
The number of each coin is five million pieces and remains unchanged.