Russia seems to like its military-themed coins and so do we, so it’s good to see another fine effort from the relatively prolific Central Bank of Russia (CBR). Usually the subject is historical (with an epic title…), drawing on this vast countries deep and eventful past, but this time the subject is much more contemporary and is called Guarding the Homeland. Even today, Russia has a percieved notion that the West in particular, is out to ‘get them’. Nonsense of course, but it does mean that this nation spends a lot of time, money and effort on military hardware, often with superb results. Case in point is the hardware depicted on the reverse face of this new proof silver coin by the artist A.A. Brynza.
Taking pride of place on the coin is Russia’s formidable T-90 main Battle Tank (MBT). A modern update of the venerable T-72, the T-90 was chosen ahead of the T-80U because it was cheaper to procure and worked well. Equipped with a 125mm smoothbore gun and protected by composite armour and Kontakt-5 explosive-reactive armour, these tanks see service in several countries, especially India, where over 300 are in service. The tank is operated in large numbers by the Russian Army, but it’s expected to be phased out in the coming decades by the more revolutionary T-14 Armata range – one more capable of going head-to-head with superior Western designs like the Leopard II, Abrams M1 and Challenger II. The representation on the coin is first-class, showing plenty of detail and with a crouching soldier in the foreground.
In the background are a pair of Kamov Ka-52 ‘Alligator’ attack helicopters in silhouette. An unusual twin contra-rotating design, this allows the helicopter to fly without the need of a tail-rotor. Quite heavily armed, it’s nevertheless not in the same league as an AH64 Apache for outright lethality, and export success has been slow in coming, with just Egypt opting to buy them. The depiction in the coin background is spot on and the whole piece looks superb in our view. Even non-Russians will find much to like here.
The obverse never really changes on Russian coins and that is again the case. It’s hard to be disappointed when it’s the very cool looking double-headed Imperial Eagle, though. Cleanly struck to a proof finish, the coin contains a troy-ounce of pure silver, although its total weight is higher at 33.94 grams because it’s sterling 0.925 fineness. Just 3,000 will be struck, which isn’t a lot for a country that loves its commemorative coins. Hard to buy outside of Russia, our sponser Munzdachs has them available to purchase now.