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50 lei 2001
180th Anniversary of the Birth of Vasile Alecsandri
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30 mm diameter, 16.5 g, 92.5% silver, flat edge
year 2001, circular inscription REPUBLICA MOLDOVA meaning "REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA" and the coat of arms of the Republic of Moldavia, in exergue denomination "50 LEI"
the effigy of Vasile Alecsandri, inscription VASILE ALECSANDRI·1821-1890, at right a book with a feather above and a Moldavian landscape (probably an allusion to the poem volume "Pasteluri", pastel meaning a descriptive poem)

The coin was struck at the Czech Mint, having a mintage of 1000 pieces. We are grateful to Mr. Yu_L.Yan that sent us pictures of this coin.

About Vasile Alecsandri

The Romanian poet, dramatist and proser Vasile Alecsandri was born at Bacău in 1821 (or maybe in 1818 or 1819), being son of vornic Vasile (at the time, only medelnicer) and of Elena. Vornic was a state official charged with internal affairs problems, and also judge at the law court, and medelnicer was a boyar that served at the table of the ruler of Moldavia. Vasile Alecsandri has studied at home with Gherman Vida, then at the school of the Frenchman Victor Cuénim from Iași, then in France, at Paris. Gherman Vida, a monk from Maramureș, was the author of Gramatica româno-franțuzească (Romanian and French Grammar), published at Buda in 1833. He brought with him in Moldavia the manuscript of the Gheorghe Șincai's chronicle. Victor Cuénim was an ex-officer in the Napoleonic army.

In 1840-1842 he was, together with Costache Negruzzi and Mihail Kogălniceanu, director of the National Theater of Iași. He was a collaborator of "Dacia literară" (Literary Dacia, 1840 - he debuted there with the short story "Buchetiera din Florența", Bouqueteer of Florence) and of "Foaie științifică și literară" (Literary and Scientific Paper, 1844 - the magazine should have born the name "Propășirea", Thrift, but the censor did not agree, arguing that thrift is a revolutionary word!). He was the owner of "România literară" (Literary Romania, 1855). Alecsandri was member of the literary society Junimea of Iași (that set the ground for the modern Romanian literature in the 19th century), and member of the Romanian Academy. A great part of his opera was published in "Convorbiri literare", Literary Conversations, the magazine from Iași of the forementioned society of Junimea ("Youth").

Alecsandri participated to the 1848 Revolution in Moldavia. The bayonets of the governmental soldiers defeated easily the revolution and Alecsandri fled to the Austrian Empire. He was a member of the unionist party, being personal friend of prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, who united the two Romanian Principalities in 1859 under his rule. Later he was member of the Parliament and also minister. Between 1885 and 1890 he was the minister of Romania at Paris. In the times of king Carol I he was considered the poet of the royal court of Romania.

Vasile Alecsandri lived many years at his estate of Mircești, and he was surnamed "the bard of Mircești".

About the works of Vasile Alecsandri

The works of Alecsandri are representative for his epoch. Until Mihai Eminescu, Alecsandri was considered the greatest Romanian poet, being very respected. For his poem "Cîntecul gintei latine", Song of the Latin Gens, he won the prize of the Félibriges (the association of the Provençal writers, founded by Frédéric Mistral). This success was very appreciated by the Romanians.

The best known poetry volumes of Alecsandri are "Doine și lăcrămioare" (Doine and lilies of the valley, doina being a typical Romanian popular song, expressing yearning and grief, 1853), "Pasteluri", "Poezii poporale. Balade (cîntice bătrînești) adunate și îndreptate de ..." (Popular poems. Ballads (old songs) gathered and corrected by ... ,1852, two volumes), "Ostașii noștri" (Our Soldiers, 1878, gathering the poems dedicated to the Independence War of 1877-1878).

As dramatist, Alecsandri wrote comedies as "Iașii în carnaval" (Iași in Carnival), "Chirița în Iași" (1850) or "Chirița în provinție" (1852). Alecsandri wrote the dramas "Despot vodă", "Ovidiu" and "Fîntîna Blanduziei", and the fairy play "Sînziana and Pepelea". The prose of Alecsandri is still readable (e.g. "Istoria unui galbîn", Story of a Gold Coin, and "Balta Albă").


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