Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


KUCHKIN (Kutschkin), Michael: Russia, 1720, Bronze, 61 mm
Obv: Bust of Peter I (r): Legend in Cyrillic translated as "By the Grace of God, Peter the First, Tsar and Autocrat of All Russia"
Rev: View of ships at battle: Legend in Cyrillic translated as "Diligence and Bravery are Superior to Strength"
Exergue: Legend in Cyrillic "At Grengam. 1720, July 27th Day"
Signed: M. K.
Ref: Sm 208a; Reichel 1383 var; Iversen 53/1; Diakov I, 189/56.9; Weiss BW419

This medal, which commemorates the capture of four Swedish frigates at Grengam (Gronhamn; Granhamn) Island, was issued in Russia to note another important victory at sea over the Swedish fleet. Two hundred medals, smaller than this, were also issued in silver and were given to officers who participated in the battle.

Both sides claimed victory in this battle. According to the Russians, the victory at Grengam allowed them to consolidate in the archipelago, which prevented Swedish shipping in the area, thus ending the supremacy of the Swedish navy in the Baltic Sea. According to the Swedes, dozens of Russian galleys were either sunk by the Swedish force or burnt and abandoned after the battle. The Swedish Vice Admiral Carl Georg Si÷blad was first criticized after the battle, but when the scope of the Russian losses were discovered he was praised. Russia celebrated the battle as a victory, but their fleet was unable to launch effective operations until the end of the war in 1721.

Following the death of Peter in 1725, there was a great turnover of Russian leaders. Catherine I ,who succeeded him to the throne on his death became Empress of Russia in1725. Just two years later in 1727 she herself was succeeded to the throne by Peter II (grandson of Peter the Great and Russian Tsar from 1727 to 1730). Peter II died of small pox on the day of his wedding in 1730 and was succeeded by Anna Ivanova, the niece of Peter the Great and daughter of Ivan V, the half-brother of Peter the Great. On the death of Anna in 1740, Ivan VI, the great nephew and adopted son of Empress Anna was proclaimed Emperor when he was only eight weeks old. In 1741 a coup d'etat took place and the tsarevna Elizabeth (the daughter of Peter the Great and Catherine I) was given the throne. Elizabeth (1709-1762) remained on the throne until her death in 1762, at which time she was succeeded by her nephew, Peter III, who died later that year, perhaps by murder. On his death Catherine II (The Great) ascended to the throne.

LINK to Battle of Grengam (from Wikipedia)

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

LINK to Russian History in Medals: Peter the Great by Olga Less (from ANS magazine)