Born on the 10 November 1919 in Kurya in Russia, Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov was the 17th of 19 children and after an early brush with death at aged six, went on to work at a job in a tractor factory where he indulged his passion for mechanics.
At the outbreak of war, he joined a tank regiment, rising to tank commander and being gifted a watch by General Zhukov himself. Wounded, he overheard soldiers in hospital complaining about their weapons jamming in combat and thus started on a path that led to his designing of an assault rifle in 1947 – the famed AK-47.
A cheap, simple and tough weapon, the AK-47 was so effective in its role that by 2009, over 100 million of them had been produced. Always troubled by the deaths caused by his invention, he died in 2013, his admirers were less concerned and a 9m tall statue of Kalashnikov was unveiled in central Moscow in late 2017.
The Kramskaya designed half-ounce sterling silver coin has a mintage of 3,000 pieces. A classic, if unambitious piece of work, it’s available now.
DESIGN: the mirror field of the disc features a relief portrait of Mikhail Kalashnikov and the inscriptions ‘КОНСТРУКТОР ОРУЖИЯ’ (WEAPONS DESIGNER) at the top, ‘М.Т. КАЛАШНИКОВ’ (M.T. KALASHNIKOV) at the bottom, and the years of the designer’s birth and death in two lines ‘1919’ and ‘2013’ on the right.