Numismatic masterpieces dedicated to the Battle of Chesma 07.07.2015
The medal “In memory of the burning of the Turkish Navy at Chesma” was established to award all men who had participated in the Battle of Chesma, both naval and land. On the night of June 26 (July 7 New Style) 1770 in Chesma Bay of the Aegean Sea there was a battle which became critical for the Russian and Turkish war of 1768-1774. Although possessing far fewer ships and canons, the Russian squadron destroyed the enemy’s powerful fleet and won the battle. This victory made Russia one of the most powerful maritime countries.
The medals were produced of silver with the diameter of 39 mm. The Saint-Petersburg Mint struck about 5000 medals on the whole. On the front side of the medal there was a portrait of the Empress wearing the crown and the mantle, with a decoration ribbon across the right shoulder and tresses falling to the shoulders. The inscription around the edge was: Á • Ì • ÅÊÀÒÅÐÈÍÀ • II • IÌÏÅÐÀÒ • ÈÑÀÌÎÄÅÐÆ • ÂÑÅÐÎÑÑ• Under the image it was written: T IÂÀÍÎÂÚ •. In the foreground of the back side there were four Russian military ships, a part of the town and an inscription ×ÅÑÌÅ were observed in the left side of the background, in the right side there were Turkish ships in flames. The inscription in the top was ÁÛËÚ, under the edge: ×ÅÑÌÅ . 1770 . ÃÎÄÀ IÞËß. 24 Ä. On the right side under the edge there was letter Þ. Some researchers believe that the word refers to the destroyed Turkish Navy; others suppose that the word «áûë» (was) means the participation of the awarded person in the Battle of Chesma.
The medal had an eyelet for fixing to the ribbon; one was to wear the medal in the buttonhole (on the breast). The ribbon of the medal was that of St. Andrew. In fact, it was the last military medal with the unfolded battle composition. The date of June 24 on the medal was incorrect – it was likely muddled during the stamp making.
The commander of the Archipelagos expedition Duke A.G. Orlov received the title of General-in-Chief and the first class of the Order of Saint George established shortly before. A desktop gold medal with a flattering but not true inscription: «Ãð. À.Ãð. Îðëîâ. Ïîáåäèòåëü è èñòðåáèòåëü òóðåöêîãî ôëîòà» (“Duke A.G. Orlov. The conqueror and the destroyer of the Turkish Navy”) was minted in his honour (made by Johann Balthasar Gass and struck at the Saint-Petersburg Mint). In fact, Admiral G. Spiridonov, a veteran of the navy was the squadron commander but he contented himself with far lesser awards and honours.
On the front side there was a portrait of the Duke in the uniform and helmet of the Chevalier Guards, with a decoration ribbon and a staff in the right hand. The circumscription was « Ãð: À: ÃÐ: ÎÐËÎÂÚ. ÏÎÁÚÄÈÒÅËÜ È ÈÑÒÐÅÁÈÒÚËÜ ÒÓÐÚÖÊÀÃÎ ÔËÎÒÀ.» Below: « IBGASS F» (Johann Balthasar Gaas produced). On the back side there was a plan of Chesma Bay with the location of the Russian and the Turkish Navies before the battle, in the left part of the bottom there was a head of an angel blowing to the right. There were also inscriptions in various places: « ÎÑÒ.- ÏÀËÌÀ- ÒÎÐÅ», «ÍÀÒÎËIÈ», «ËÀÇÀÌÅÍÎ», «×ÅÑÌÅ», «Î.ÃÎÍÑÈ», «Ç.ÔÈÍÎ», «ÑÖIÎ», «ËÅÍÀ», «ÎÑÒ.ÕIÎ». Around the edge: «È ÁÛÑÒÚ ÐÎÑÑIÈ ÐÀÄÎÑÒÚ È ÂÅÑÅËIÅ». In the edge: «×ÅÑÌÀ IÞÍß 24. È 26. 1770.- ÂÚ ÁËÀÃÎÄÀÐÍÎÑÒÚ ÏÎÁÅÄÈÒÅËÞ ÎÒÚ ÀÄÌ: ÊÎËË:»
Participants of other naval battles were awarded with such medals of silver and gold.
The craftsmen of the Mints of Goznak worked upon commemorative coins dedicated to the Battle at Chesma in the 1990s twice.
In 1992 “The Battle at Chesma” coin with the face value of 150 roubles was produced in “The Age of Enlightenment. The 18th century” series. The coin was struck at the Saint-Petersburg Mint in the “proof” quality of pure platinum, with the weight of 15.55 g and the diameter of 28.6 (-0.25) mm. The number of the platinum coin was 3000 pieces.
In the center of the discus of the coin reverse there are relief images of three sailing ships in the clouds of smoke and boats in the scene of the battle; there are inscriptions around the edge, “The Age of Enlightenment. The 18th century” in the top, “The Battle at Chesma” in the bottom. Alexander Baklanov was the design author; I. Komshilov was the sculptor.
In 1996 “The Battle at Chesma. 1770” commemorative coin appeared within the framework of “The 300th Anniversary of the Russian Navy” series. The coin was struck at the Moscow Mint of Goznak in the “proof” quality of coin silver. The weight of the coin was 155.50 g, its diameter was 60.00 mm. It was issued in the number of 3000 pieces.
A. Baklanov, the coin design author, and N. Nosov, a sculptor, redressed an injustice: sailing ships at the moment of the Battle at Chesma were depicted on the reverse of the new commemorative coin in the left part , above them there was the portrait of Admiral G.A. Spiridonov, the true hero of the naval battle, and circumscriptions: under the portrait – "Ã.À. ÑÏÈÐÈÄÎÂ", on the ribbon in the top – "300-ËÅÒÈÅ ÐÎÑÑÈÉÑÊÎÃÎ ÔËÎÒÀ", in the bottom - "×ÅÑÌÅÍÑÊÎÅ ÑÐÀÆÅÍÈÅ.1770 Ã."