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5 kopecks 1771 - pattern
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5 kopecks 1771 - pattern 5 kopecks 1771 - pattern
diameter 42 mm, 37-46 g, bronze
Obverse: bicephalic eagle of the Czarist Empire, with crowned heads and with a crown above, holding a sword and a scepter in its talons and sittind on two oval shields bearing the Moldavian and Walachian coats of arms, a broad strip, in exergue face value 5 KOPIEKI, with Cyrillic letters, under the value letter S from Sadagura; outer toothed circle; adorned edge (oak leaves)
Reverse: a column over a broad strip representing the ground, atop a crowned shield bearing the monogram of empress Catherine II, at left a drum, a spear, fasces atop (bundle of rods bound about an axe with projecting blade) and three flags, at right a cannon, a spear, a bunchuk (a lance with a horsetail, used as flag, named "tui" in Romanian) and again three flags, at the base of the column a Phrygian bonnet, year 1771; outer toothed circle

The pictures of the pattern above are present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of "Nudelman Numismatica".


The piece is the herald of a political message, both subtle and categorical in displaying the intentions the issuer had in imposing domination in the region. The denomination value is in kopecks only - Russian currency -, the coats of arms of the Romanian Principalities are placed underneath the imperial coat of arms and the issuer, empress Catherine (Ecaterina) II is explicitly present on the coin through her monogram. We note that this pattern is prior to the coins that effectively entered circulation, coins that had all the features that would have offended the Romanians and brought affront to the other powers with interests in the region removed from design.

The design of the pattern imparts that the armies of Catherine II (represented by the bunch of weapons) brought to the two Romanian Principalities liberty (symbolized by the Phrygian bonnet, pileus, born in antiquity by the freed slaves and thusly known universaly as token of earned freedom). The presence of the fasces would mean that the Russians assumed the right of life and death over the Romanians. The fasces, (bundles of rods bound about an axe with a projecting blade) were born by lictors accompanying Roman magistrates, signifying the right of the respective magistrate to apply the punishment either with the rod (beating) or the axe (death). The bicephalous eagle under the talons of which the coats of arms of the Principalities lie shows clearly that in 1771 Russia assumed the quality of protector of Moldavia and Walachia. The diplomatic situation did not evolve as desired by the Czarist Empire, so that on the coins issued in 1772 and 1773 the references to Russia were reduced to the denomination value (dengas and kopecks).

Letter S on the obverse is actually a Latin letter. Monograph "Monede și bancnote românești" assumes that this is the initial of Sadagura, the place near Cernăuți where the coins and essays were struck, but it can as well be of the eponym of the emitent. The presence of a Latin letter is a bit strange, as the legend on all other coins and patterns issued at Sadagura are covered in Cyrillic (one must notice that sound S is assigned in Cyrillic letter C).


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