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500 lei 1998 - 150th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution of 1848
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500 lei 1998 - 150th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution of 1848 500 lei 1998 - 150th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution of 1848
24 mm diameter, 8.64 g, gold, flat edge
Obverse: denomination "500 LEI", ROMANIA, year 1998, coat of arms of Romania and heraldic composition symbolizing the Romanian Revolution of 1848
Reverse: along the rim inscription LIBERTATE EGALITATE FRATIETATE meaning LIBERTY EQUALITY FRATERNITY, years 1848 and 1998 on the sides and allegorical representation inspired by the painting "Revolutionary Romania" of painter Constantin David Rosenthal in the middle

Issuing date: 29th of July 1998

Maximum mintage: 2000 coins

This coin belongs to a set of two golden pieces dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Romanian Revolution of 1848, set that also comprises the value of 1000 lei, likewise golden. The coins were engraved by Vasile Gabor. Revolutionary Group

Bizarrely, for the reverse of the coin French motto LIBERTATE EGALITATE FRATIETATE was picked - an adaptation, even if an old one, of one of the slogans in use during the French Revolution of 1789, also used later on in 1848 by French revolutionists, Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité - instead of the motto of the Romanian Revolution of 1848. The Revolution of 1848, fundamental event in the development of modern Romania, meant among others the consecration of the national colors of the national flag for the Romanians from all the three principalities. The Provisional Government of Bucharest stated, through its 1st decree of 14th (Julian calendar, in use in the principalities at the time - old style) / 26th (Gregorian, new style) of June 1848 that "The national flag will have three colors: blue, yellow, red". The Romanian sentence, that was written on the flags, monuments and public decrees, will be drawn up of these two words: "Dreptate, Frăție" (Righteousness, Brotherhood). This fact is proven for our contemporary society mainly by an old, well known painting (featured in school books, on postal stamps) picturing a group of revolutionaries bearing a tricolor flag on which it was written, in the orthography of the period, the sentece Dreptate, Frăție. The more bizarre then the picking of the engravor. So much on this subject.

On 27th / 8th of April 1848 in Iași, the capital of Moldavia, (a. k. a. Jassy for foreigners), the great meeting of the Petersburg Hotel took place, igniting the Revolution in Moldavia and the Romanian space. Insufficiently prepared, the Moldavian movement was quenched two days later, when prince Mihail Sturza arrests the majority of the Revolution heads.

Memorial plaque in Iași:
On this place -  where the Petersburg Hotel lay - on the day of March 27th / April 8th the popular gathering of the revolutionaries from Moldavia that gave the signal for the beginning of the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution from 1848 in the Romanian Principalities took place

Between 3rd-5th / 15th-17th of March 1848 the Great National Gathering of the Transylvanian Romanians took place at Blaj where, on the Liberty Field, "We want to join the MotherLand!" was shouted. The Romanians there asserted proportional representation in the Transylvanian Diet with their number in the principality, equality in rights for the Orthodox church as for the other confessions and use of Romanian language in administration. On their standards there were sentences like "Revived Roman Virtue", "National Liberty and Independence, "Unbroken Trust for Nation and Throne" and "No Union with the Hungarian Country". They held also portrays of emperors Trajan and Franz Joseph. In September 1848 Avram Iancu, Axente Sever and Iovian Brad started to organize a popular Romanian army, in the leadership of which they opposed until June 1849 the Hungarian army attemps to occupy the Apuseni (Western) Mountains, after the later already having occupied almost the entire Transylvania and proclaimed the absorption of the principality inside Hungary. (Until the Union of 1918, the Transylvanian Romanians bore the Romanian tricolor flag with horizontal, not vertical placement of stripes. The Romanian national flag has three colors because three are the main historical Romanian provinces.)

On 9th / 21st of June 1848 the Gathering of Islaz took place, where a Proclamation comprising the Walachian revolutionary programme was read to all the crowd joined there. Two days later the revolution struck Bucharest, and prince (voivod) Gheorghe Bibescu signed the Constitution (the Proclamation itself) and recognized the revolutionary government. The first decree of all issued by the new government stated the colors on the flag and sentence Dreptate, Frăție, i.e. Righteousness, Brotherhood, as motto on it. The revolution in Walachia ceased on 28th of September / 7th of Octomber, when general Gheorghe Magheru dissolved the voluntary camp on the Field of Trajan of Rîureni (county of Vîlcea).

The centennial of the Revolution was also celebrated by striking a large silver medal / coin in 1948, featuring on the obverse the effigy of Nicolae Bălcescu (famous revolutionist of 1848), highly preferred by the communist regime in banknote designing later on, along Tudor Vladimirescu, 1821 revolutionist. The pieces struck 50 years back made the first numismatic issue of the young popular regimme.

The gold coin pictures above are present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of an anonymous donor.

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