One of the coolest of the world’s bullion coins, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) issued St. George the Victorious coin made its gold debut on 01 February 2006 with the silver following on 11 January 2009. It’s never been one of the easiest coins to get hold off outside of Russia, with eBay being the best bet for many, but it’s widely liked for its classic and clean design, devoid of superfluous inscription or decoration. Depicting a striking, stylistic pose of St George, mounted on horseback with a spear piercing a prone dragon, it’s the same for both the ¼ oz gold and the 1 oz silver coins. The obverse carries the superb double-headed eagle that adorns Russian commemorative coins from the CBR. Both are the work of A. V. Baklanov, although the superb Bank of Russia eagle on the obverse is based on the work of Russian artist Ivan Bilibin in 1917.
Unlike most of the world’s major bullion coins, the release schedule for the St George the Victorious is a little spotty to say the least and mintages vary wildly. There were no gold coins issued in 2011, 2013, 2014, or 2016 and since it’s launch in 2009, the silver has simply not appeared four times, from 2011-2014. Both were said to have been put on hold while the mint was designing and issuing multiple coin series for the horrendously expensive Sochi Winter Olympics back in 2014, but given it’s a pre-existing design, we find that hard to swallow as a valid reason. Whatever the reasons, both the gold and silver coins reappeared carrying a 2015 date. Both were listed as having a maximum mintage of 500,000 units, but just 30,000 gold and 100,000 silver were produced.
A proof gold version was released in 2012, but that hasn’t been repeated in either gold or silver since. A silver proof version in particular would, we imagine, be warmly received, especially in a five-ounce or bigger variant. In 2021, gold 1oz, 1/2oz, and 1/10oz bullion coins were introduced, although only the 1/2oz coin reappeared in 2022.
A fine coin that deserves a much wider audience than it currently has. Hopefully the 2015 relaunch will see the coin move to a more regular annual release, and some bigger silver variants would be a cool addition. The premiums on these are a little too high for the hardcore stacker, but every collector should have one of these in their collection in our opinion. A timeless classic, quintessentially Russian in the same way that the Eagle is American and the Britannia is British.