The Francysk Skaryna commemorative ruble (Belarus, 2017)
It’s well known that money travels and can also take you on journeys, be that through time or space.
This coin is no exception and brings the two together deliciously.
And very recently at that, since this commemorative ruble issued by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus in 2017 and signed by S. Nekrasova simultaneously combines elegance, aesthetics, and finesse with its modern design incorporating aspects from a number of Renaissance engravings.
This coin commemorates the first translation of the Bible into an Eastern Slavic language by the scholar Francysk Skaryna as well as one of its first printing runs in Prague starting in 1517.
Within barely two years, Francysk Skaryna’s printing house completed no fewer than 2,000 illustrated copies including annotations from the translator in which he shared his ideas and views with the reader.
Only 3,000 examples of this ruble, produced from a very appealing copper and nickel alloy, were minted.
On its obverse, at the top in the center, the coin depicts the coat of arms of the Republic of Belarus with the inscription РЭСПУБЛІКА БЕЛАРУСЬ (Republic of Belarus [formerly Belorussia or Byelorussia]) beneath.
In the center, there is an engraving of a self-portrait of Skaryna taken from the Book of Genesis.
And at the bottom, in the center, the denomination: 1 РУБЕЛЬ (1 ruble).
The reverse is particularly spectacular with an engraving of the city of Prague taken from Hartmann Schedel’s Nuremberg Chronicle (1493).
On the left and right are buildings engraved by Skaryna.
And in the center is the inscription ПРАГА (Prague).
At the top, above a truly beautiful engraving of the Prague Astronomical Clock, is the inscription ШЛЯХ СКАРЫНЫ (Skaryna’s way).
When it entered circulation in 2017, the coin was available in fleur de coin quality for the price of 15 Belarusian rubles.
Translation: Michael Wright