Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


Unknown medallist: RUSSIA, 1743, Bronze, 61 mm
Crowned bust of Elizabeth (r). Legend in Cyrillic: "By the Grace of God, Elizabeth Empress and Autocrat of All Russia".
Rev: Two hands holding wreath in which are the Russian eagle and Swedish and Danish shields, in laurel over landscape with bridge over Kymmene River; Below is a flying ribbon on which is inscribed (in Cyrillic): "Forcible Union".
Below is view of river with Cyrillic inscription: "Kymmene River".  Legend around in Cyrillic translated as: "In Memory of the Peace Concluded with Sweden at Abo, August 7, Year 1743"
Exergue: In Cyrillic: "The Kymmene River Is the Border Between the Two Countries"
Ref: Tiregale 80;  Reichel 1912;  Werlich 30;  Diakov, part 2, 55/88.3; Weiss BW313

Elizabeth (Petrovna) (1709-1762), Empress of Russia from 1742 to 1762, was the daughter of Peter the Great and Maratha Skavronskaya (Catherine I, Empress of Russia). From 1730 to 1740, Elizabeth's cousin Anne was Empress of Russia. However in December of 1741, Elizabeth assembled her personal friends and members of her household, drove to the barracks of the Preobrazhensky Guards, enlisted their sympathies by a stirring speech, and led them to the Winter Palace. She seized the regent and her children in their beds, and summoned all the notables, civil and ecclesiastical, to her presence. Elizabeth had secured the ministers on her way to the Winter Palace, and the revolution was accomplished.

Åbo (Turku), is the capital of Western Finland, at the mouth of the Aurajoki River on the Baltic Sea. Known as the "cradle of Finnish culture," Turku is among Finland's oldest cities. Swedish Crusaders landed on the site in 1157. It was the seat (1220) of the first bishop of Finland, and the capital of Finland until 1812. The national university was in Turku from 1640 to 1827, when a fire destroyed almost the entire city and the university was moved (1828) to Helsinki. The great cathedral was begun in the early 13th century. The 13th-century castle, burned in 1614 and restored in 1961, is now a historic museum. Turku has a Finnish university (founded 1917) and a Swedish university (founded 1918).

The Treaty of Åbo or Treaty of Turku was the Peace Treaty between Imperial Russia and Sweden by which Sweden ceded part of Southeast Finland to Russia. Russia, in turn, guaranteed freedom of religion, properties, laws and privileges to the inhabitants of the ceded territories. The treaty, which was signed in 1743, is commemorated by this medal.

The Kymmene (Kymi) River is one of the largest rivers in Southern Finland. The westernmost tributary of the river served as a border between Sweden and Russia from 1743 (the year of the Treaty) to 1809. The parts of Finland east of the river were later called Old Finland. Old Finland was incorporated in the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1812.

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