ARCHANGEL MICHAEL by the National Bank of Ukraine

Not the most commonly 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, Kyiv, amongst other gigs. Being the angel that led God’s 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. It’s loosely based on figures that stand atop various monuments in the capital, Kyiv, including the Independence Column pictured below, and the Lach Gates.

2011 – 2019 ORIGINAL DESIGN

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, as part of a larger set of silver bullion coins, starting in 2013. This is a standard bullion coin, except for that privy-mark, and comes in a customised square capsule. These can sometimes command huge premiums over the standard coin, and we recommend caution when buying, as they seem to be quite a small niche.

Also available, was a one-off proof version that was issued in 2017, with a 10,000 mintage. In terms of design, it remains fundamentally the same, although the composition inscriptions on the obverse have been removed.

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 centre, 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 honourable 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`).

SILVER BULLION

GOLD BULLION

2017 PROOF SILVER

2020 DESIGN

The 2020 issue had an all-new obverse design, including the first use of the new Hryvnia currency symbol ₴. The denomination was originally written out in full (ОДНА ГРИВНЯ). The National Bank of Ukraine’s logo has been modernised slightly, which sits in a simplified central area, surrounded by a more detailed border. Overall, it’s different, but we can imagine it splitting opinion on which is better. Sviatoslav Ivanenko did the engraving here, although it was modelled in software by Vitaly Andrianov, and Yuri Lukyanov.

There’s also a 3.11 gram (1/10th oz) gold version with a 2,000 mintage

OBVERSE: Ukraine’s small coat of arms, against the background of a pattern made of stylized Old Rus Kyiv-type hryvnias – used as a unit of weight and counting and a monetary unit – is a stylized wreath made of laurel leaves. УКРАЇНА (Ukraine), 1 ₴ (symbol of hryvnia), НАЦІОНАЛЬНИЙ, БАНК УКРАЇНИ, 2021, Ag 999,9 31,1

2020 SILVER BULLION

2021 UKRAINE’S INDEPENDENCE DESIGN

We were in two minds whether to include this coin here, given its vastly different design, but it’s replaced the Archangel Michael for 2021, as it celebrates Ukraine’s 30th year since independence from the defunct Soviet Union. We’d normally have expected the Archangel Michael to return in 2022, but given the war ongoing as we update this guide, that’s understandably on the back-burner, we assume.

A simple design, it’s basically composed of the number 30, with the ‘0’ replaced by a stylised flower, shown from above. This is the official logo of the Independence Day of Ukraine. This one is also designed by Volodymyr Taran, Oleksandr Kharuk and Serhii Kharuk, but engraved by Volodymyr Demianenko. The obverse is the same as the one introduced on the 2020 Archangel Michael release. Its physical specification is unchanged.

OBVERSE: Ukraine’s small coat of arms, against the background of a pattern made of stylised Old Rus Kyiv-type hryvnias – used as a unit of weight and counting and a monetary unit – is a stylised wreath made of laurel leaves. УКРАЇНА (Ukraine), 1 ₴ (symbol of hryvnia), НАЦІОНАЛЬНИЙ, БАНК УКРАЇНИ, 2021, Ag 999,9 31,1

REVERSE: The logo of the Independence Day of Ukraine, composed of the number “3” and stylised number “0” in the shape of a flower.ТИ У МЕНЕ ЄДИНА (my one and only), РОКІВ, НЕЗАЛЕЖНОСТІ, УКРАЇНИ (years, of independence, of Ukraine)

2021 SILVER BULLION

MINTAGE AND SPECIFICATION

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. In general, the smaller fractional gold coins have been more popular, but in 2016 we’ve seen a complete reversal of that, with the two largest gold sizes gaining hugely in popularity. This could perhaps be linked with golds ‘safe haven’ status and the current political and military situation in the country.

The overall numbers of these coins being produced makes using them as predictors of popularity quite difficult as there may be supply issues, or even political ones, for any disparity in expected patterns. Not one to use in the determining of overall global precious metal demand, much like any other low-mintage bullion coin, whether issued by a national bank or not.

 

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DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER THICKNESS FINISH
20 HRYVNIA 0.9999 GOLD 31.10 g 32.00 mm 2.4 mm B/UNC
10 HRYVNIA 0.9999 GOLD 15.55 g 25.00 mm 2.0 mm B/UNC
5 HRYVNIA 0.9999 GOLD 7.78 g 20.00 mm 1.6 mm B/UNC
2 HRYVNIA 0.9999 GOLD 3.11 g 16.00 mm 1.1 mm B/UNC
1 HRYVNIA 0.9999 SILVER 31.1 g 38.60 mm 3.0 mm B/UNC
NATIONAL BANK OF UKRAINE