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1 ruble 1989 Eminescu
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31 mm diameter, 12.85 g, steel, ONE RUBLE (in Russian) incuse on the edge twice
Obverse: Soviet Coat of Arms, USSR, 1 ruble and year 1989
Reverse: face of Mihai Eminescu, (the Romanian national poet), his signature immediately below, years 1850 and 1889 and Cyrilic legend "MIHAIL EMINESCU" (incorrect)

Mintage: 1.800.000 coins
+ 200.000 proof

The coin was issued to commemorate the passing away of Mihai Eminescu, the Romanian national poet, from which one hundred years had passed. (1989 was proclaimed by UNESCO the Mihai Eminescu International Year). It is strange that only USSR issued a coin to celebrate the Eminescu Centenary, while Romania did not. As you can see, on the coin reverse is inscribed MIHAIL and not MIHAI - the version adopted by the Romanian Eminescu scholars (eminescologists). In 1989 a museum dedicated to Mihai Eminescu was inaugurated in Iași, in the Copou Park.

What a shame that the Soviet Union deemed fit to honour the memory of the Romanian poet with a monetary issue while Romania did not do anything of a kind! Nowadays Romanian coins collectors would pay a fair sum to have it, if they only knew it exists.

The Eminescu's ruble was released into circulation in the former USSR on December 26th 1989. It was struck at Leningrad - nowadays Sankt-Petersburg. 2 million coins were minted, 200.000 of which being of better quality (maybe proof? maybe BU?). Designer: A.V. Baklanov; engraver: I.S. Komshilov.

The effigy of Mihai Eminescu seen here is the most known and commonly used, made after a picture taken in his youth during his two day stay in Prague.

The pictures of the proof coin are present on Romanian coins through the special kindness of Mr. Yu_L.Yan.

Other Eminescu coins

In 2000 the National Bank of Romania issued a coin with 2000 lei face value - 150 years from the birth of Mihai Eminescu.

In 2000 the National Bank of the Republic of Moldavia issued a coin with 100 lei face value - 150 years from the birth of Mihai Eminescu.

In 2010 the National Bank of Romania issued another coin, with 500 lei face value - 160 years from the birth of Mihai Eminescu.

Below you can see the very first medal of the many struck to commemorate the greatest Romanian poet. The medal was struck in the very year of his death, 1889, the ruby on it being a later addition. The legend is MICHAIL EMINESCU 1849 1889. The year of birth is the one recorded inside the register of the literary society Junimea (Youth) in Iași, of which Eminescu was member, whereas the commonly accepted today is 1850. The silver medal picture below is present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of Mr. Neacșu Michail.

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