|Centenary of the 1848 Revolution in Romania|
38 mm diameter, 25 g, silver 83.5%, copper 16.5%, flat edge |
outer pearl circle, CENTENARUL ANULUI REVOLUTIONAR 1848, meaning "Centenary of Revolutionary Year 1848", a star; inside linear circle revolutionist Nicolae Bălcescu's effigy, NICOLAE BALCESCU and H.I., standing for Haralamb Ionescu, the engraver.
|The inscription "REPUBLICA POPULARA ROMANA" meaning "ROMANIAN PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC", year 1948 and Romanian coat of arms, outer pearl circle, inner linear circle.|
The silver piece in the pictures is the first or at least the second numismatic issue of the new Romanian People's Republic, appeared as result of the outer Soviet interference. It thusly has a rather special character, being among the first if not the very first metal document of the new people's regime. Although not a regular coin (lacking a face value) we deemed worthy displaying it on Romanian coins, as an emblematic token that milestones the shift from the former monarchic regime to the republic. The medal was also judged as such by the issuing authorities, fact proven by the large number of pieces struck, unusual for medals yet specific to coin striking: 500.000.
The diameter is superior to the classic silver 5 lei's struck by Carol though the title is inferior. The diameter matches the one of the homage 5 lei of 1906 (forty years of reign of Carol I).
This medal was a good means of spreading the newly created coat of arms of the state, a coat that stood for the communist regime only, despite all and any Romanian heraldry tradition. Easy to notice, the (red) star atop is still missing, this component being added from 1953 on till 1989. On the obverse there is the effigy of Nicolae Bălcescu (revolutionist in 1848), highly preferred by the communist regime in banknote designing later on, along Tudor Vladimirescu, 1821 revolutionist.
We can say this medal ushers somehow Romania into the new era of people's republic. The title of Republica Populară Română lasted from 30th December 1947 until 21st August 1965, when the socialist republic was proclaimed.
Moreover, thanks to its peculiarities, the medal enjoys quite a celebrity and real interest exists towards it.
Fifty years later new numismatic issues followed celebrating a century and a half from the event that shaped the development of modern Romania. In 1998 the National Bank struck an anniversary set of two golden coins (500 and 1000 lei), also present on Romanian coins.