The collecting of international numismatic items (coins, currency and exonumia) can be a fun and interesting hobby.  Anyone with a desire to learn of the history of civilizations and countries can learn what was considered to be so important that their money proudly displayed it.  Others wish to learn or teach finer details of unique coins.  Education and the sharing of knowledge is a primary focus of NI, with the scholarly NI Bulletin, the library and the publications.  In addition, the semi-annual Bid Sale allows members to acquire items of interest or to sell excess numismatic items.  This is done in a spirit of friendship with members who have similar interests.

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Numismatics International’s Coin Spotlight:

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CHILE - 1 Peso, 1895 - Origins of the Hammer and Sickle

In remembrance of the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution of October 1917, that occurs this month, I would like to examine the development of a powerful symbol. When the political winds change for a culture, as it did for Russia in 1917, so do the symbols of the new government. The origins of the iconic symbol has been difficult to positively determine. While the hammer is an element of Norse and Slavic mythology, related to the thunder god Thor and Svarog, it's not known if this cultural relic was in mind during adoption of the symbol for the USSR. The same can be said of  the sickle, which was a tool carried by Mara or Morana, a pagan goddess of Indo-European and Slavic tradition. What is known is that a contest was held in Moscow, late 1917, to encourage artists to submit their designs using the ideals and words of the communist leader Vladimir Lenin as their guide. Lenin's ideal was a union of workers and peasants and his famous slogan, "proletariat of the world, unite!" set the tone for a new symbol that expressed the idea of workers and agricultural peasants joining together for a new socialist state. The crossed hammer and sickle, by Yevgeny Kamzolkin was chosen as the contest winner in April 1918.

Or was it a new and original symbol? This new Chilean coin design of 1895 clearly includes the very same element on its reverse design by Frenchman Ernest Tasset. The condor on the obverse is the work of another great engraver, Louis-Oscar Roty, famous for  “Semeuse” or the sower, on French coins. The complete Union of Soviet Socialist Republics symbol, where the hammer and sickle is superimposed over an image of the globe was adopted in July 1923, and appeared on this Ruble in 1924. I've found another example of a hammer and sickle coin that seems to be too early to be found on German notgeld piece of Weissenfels, 1918. It's also interesting to note that the hammer and sickle design did not appear on a Russian coin until after it appeared on one of their client states, Khiva Khawarezm in 1921. So what do you think? Did Yevgeny Kamzolkin have an original idea?

The NI Coin of the Month Archives

The NI Bulletin:

The November/December 2017 edition of the NI Bulletin is now available on this website for members to download.  The November/December 2017 NI Bulletin includes the following articles:

  • A King Sigismund III of Poland Trojak with the Auroch of Moldavia, by Robert Ronus
  • Cut Gold "Tejuelo" Piece with Crowned-CA Tax Stamp for Charles I of Spain, by Faniel Frank Sedwick, LLC
  • Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia Commemorative Medal, 1815, Kng Francis I, by Herman Blanton
  • A Failed attack on Amsterdam, and the Death of Prince William II -- 1650, by Paul Oostervink
  • An Improbable Overdate, Ecuador 2 Reales 1834/5, by Xavier Alban R.
  • Holey Dollar, New South Wales, by Morton & Eden Ltd.

If you are not an Numismatics International member, and you wish to view a sample of the NI Bulletin, please visit the "NI Bulletin Sample" page on this website.

The 94th NI Bid Sale/Fall Auction (939 lots) is now closed.  NI members and non-members can still view it by clicking on:  NI Bid Sale Fall Auction  

The Fall Auction closed on October 16, 2017.  The 2018 Spring Auction will be available on this website in late February.