Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


WAECHTER, Georg Christian: Russia, 1762 , Bronze, 68 mm
Obv: Bust of Catherine (l), as Minerva, wearing helmet with feathers and scaled armor; Legend in Cyrillic translated as: "By the Grace of God, Catherine II Empress and Autocrat of All Russia".
Rev: Catherine II, seated, accepting a pillow with a Crown and Scepter from Russia and St. George. Angel pointing to Providence on a cloud greeting the Empress. Legend in Cyrillic translated as: "This is Your Salvation".
Exergue: June, 28th Day, Year 1762 (In Cyrillic)
Signed: W∆CHTER
Ref: Tiregale, 94; Reichel # 2241; Diakov, part 2, 91/115.1; Weiss BW223

Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great (1729-1796), Empress of Russia (1762-1796), was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning from 1762 until her death at the age of 67. She was born in Prussia as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, and came to power following a coup d'ťtat and the assassination of her husband, Peter III, at the end of the Seven Years' War.

In 1744 Catherine went to Russia at the invitation of Empress Elizabeta Petrovna as the bride of the heir to the throne, Peter Feodorovich, whom she married in 1745. In 1762, with the support of the Imperial Guard, she overthrew her husband Tzar Peter III and was crowned Empress of all Russia, the event commemorated by this medal. Catherine undertook a wide range of social reforms, although after the Peasantís Revolt she became increasingly conservative and extended the powers of the nobility at the expense of the serfs. In the foreign policy arena, she waged two successful wars against the Ottoman Empire and occupied vast territories on Russia's southern boundaries. The Partitions of Poland led to the division of that country into Russia, Prussia and Austria. Russia emerged from the Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774) as the dominant power in the Middle East. Crimea was annexed in 1783 and Alaska was colonized. Catherineís dialogue with Enlightenment figures such as Voltaire did much to promote her contemporary image in Europe. She died in 1796 after suffering a stroke and was buried in the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in St. Petersburg.

This rare medal made by G.C. Waechter is the original of its type.


LINK to the Russo-Turkish War (from Columbia Encyclopedia)

LINK to Portrait of Catherine II the Great by Alexsey Antropov (from Olga's Gallery)

LINK to Collection of Medals from Imperial Russia (Yale University)