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Trusting in Hope for Success

CNG 111, Lot: 999. Estimate $2000.
Sold for $3250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

RUSSIA, Empire. Petr I Alexeyevich Velikiy (Peter the Great). 1682-1725. AR Medal (70mm, 117.10 g, 12h). Trusting in Hope for Success. By O. Kalashnikov. Dated 1713. ΠETP(OУ)CЪ · ПEPBЫИ · БОЖIЕЮ · MIΛOCTIЮ : IMПEPATOPЪ · POCIИCKIИ :, laureate, draped, and armored bust right; imperial eagle on breastplate; · O · К · on truncation of arm / IMҌЯ HAДЕД(OУ) HAБОГА ЖЕΛАЕМЪ ΠΟΛ(OУ)ЧITИ 1713, Russian warship, viewed from stern surmounted by Neptune holding trident, sailing into open water to upper left; rocks to right; additional ships in background; above, sun breaking through partly cloudy sky. Diakov 42.2-3. Near EF, hairlines and light field marks. Very rare.

From the RAJ Collection. Ex World-Wide Coins of California (James F. Elmen) XXXVI (18 November 1999), lot 431.


The Great Northern War, fought between Swedish Empire (and its allies) and the Tsardom of Russia (and its allies) for supremacy in northern, central, and eastern Europe and especially, the Baltic. The alliances of each side were complex, and demonstrate the increasing concerns about the rise of Russia in European affairs. Over the course of the war, alliances shifted. One of the most notable, was Great Britain, which was allied first with Sweden, then Russia, then back to Sweden. Prior to the reign of Petr I Alexeyevich Velikiy (Peter the Great), Russia had limited interest in dealing with Europe. Under the new tsar, who had traveled to the Dutch Republic incognito to learn the art of ship building, this changed. His construction of the new capital at St. Petersburg was designed to provide access to the Baltic and a sea route west. Hoping to check Sweden, which had become a regional power following the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and was now being ruled by the Karl XII (1697-1718), Russia, along with its allies – Denmark-Norway and Saxony-Poland-Lithuania - decided to attack first. Karl, however proved to be a capable leader and, by 1706, had thoroughly defeated his enemies. With Russia being his only remaining threat, Karl decided to march on Moscow. Although this maneuver met with initial success – the Battle of Holowczyn (1708) was a rounding Swedish victory – the tide of battle turned and he and his forces suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Poltava (1709). Following surrender at Perevolochna after Poltava, when the Swedish army was annihilated, Karl fled to exile, where he remained until 1714, for several of those years under house arrest, due to his scheming. During this period, Russia and Poland regained and expanded the borders they had lost, including the Russian occupation of Finland. Sweden’s former allies, such as Great Britain and Prussia, either defected or took advantage of the king’s absence to attack Sweden’s external holdings. Upon his return from exile, Karl found Sweden facing a defensive war. His plan was to invade Norway to attack the Danish-controlled towns there. This move proved unsuccessful due to the Swedish lack of heavy artillery, and costly, because, during the siege of Fredriksten in 1718, Karl was killed by a bullet to the head. Following his death, Sweden unsuccessfully tried to continue the war. As a result, the Russian fleet conducted actions against the civilian population on Sweden’s eastern coast. Known as the Rysshärjningarna (Russian Pillage of 1719-1721), such encounters as these continued until the Treaty of Nystad in 1721, formally ending the Great Northern War.