Not a very widely known coin, but certainly one worthy of attention, the Archangel Michael is issued by the National Bank of Ukraine and is legal tender in that country. First issued in 2011 in one silver and two gold sizes, they were quickly followed up by two more gold fractionals the following year to make a full five-coin range.
One of the most powerful and respected figures in many religious teachings, the Archangel Michael is considered to be the patron saint and protector of both Ukraine and its capital, Kiev, amongst other gigs. Being the angel that led Gods armies against Satan, he’s most widely known as a warrior, and that’s the case on the reverse side of this coin where he’s depicted dressed in ancient, almost Roman attire, and armed with a sword.
Designed by Volodymyr Taran, Oleksandr Kharuk and Serhii Kharuk, and engraved by Roman Chaikovskyi and Sviatoslav Ivanenko, it’s a pretty cool looking piece and worth tracking down. Unfortunately, while it’s quite cheap to buy in Ukraine, it doesn’t seem to continue being cheap elsewhere, so expect to pay a little more over spot than the usual bullion coin. For those interested, a silver F15 privy-mark version exists. This is limited to 10,000 pieces, but doesn’t appear to be struck to a higher standard than the standard Uncirculated version. There are no proof versions or sets at the time of writing.
OBVERSE: above there is the Small Coat of Arms of Ukraine with the semicircular inscription НАЦІОНАЛЬНИЙ БАНК УКРАЇНИ (National Bank of Ukraine), in the coin center, within the octagonal cartouche, there is depicted a shield with the emblem of the National Bank of Ukraine thereon – allegorical figures of griffins with the hryvnia (monetary-weight unit of Kyivan Rus) placed between them. This emblem symbolizes safeguarding and augmentation of the country`s gold reserves. On the coin obverse there are indicated the coin face value, coin issue year, as well as the indications of the metal and its fineness and coin weight in fineness.
REVERSE: there is depicted the Taxiarch Archangel Michael (Orthodoxy accords him the title `Archistrategos`), one of the most honorable Bible characters well-known for winning a victory over evil and being a patron of warriors, the sick and the suffering; there is a circular inscription: …ЗА НАС І ДУШІ ПРАВЕДНИХ, І СИЛА АРХІСТРАТИГА МИХАЇЛА/ FOR US AND SOLES OF RIGHTEOUS MEN, AND ARCHISTRATEGOS MICHAEL`S STRENGTH (lines from T. Shevchenko`s `Haydamaks`).
Released in 2011 in both a full one-ounce and a quarter-ounce format, it was only a year later that the half-ounce and tenth-ounce coins supplemented the range. Comparing the mintages for 2013 to those of 2012, it seems that the 1/2 and 1/4oz coins are the most popular, and that seems to be a trend with most of the semi-numismatic gold coins. The 1/10oz coin is losing out to the 1/4oz because the latter is seen as better value.