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The collection of medals consists of over 55,000 items and 20,000 duplicates. The very rich section of Russian medals contains items devoted to historical events in Russia of the 18th to 20th centuries, but there is also a great number of medals on "Russian" themes executed abroad and numerous medals created in honour of Russian statesmen and private individuals. The Russian coin section includes works by such notable Russian medal-engravers as T. I. Ivanov, S. Y. Yudin, I. G. Waechter and others.

With over 6,000 items from the Soviet period and 1990s already, the contemporary collection is increased every year by the works of contemporary artists.

Different national schools are unevenly represented in the Western European collection (over 35,000 items), but we can still gain an overall idea of the development of medal-engraving from the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries to the present.

Apart from over 10 masterpieces by the originator of the commemorative medal, Pisanello, the Italian collection (over 3,000 pieces) has works by his contemporaries and followers such as Matteo de Pasti, Sperandio, Giovanni Boldu and others. Several series of papal medals of 16th to 17th centuries and the 19th century are exceptionally fully represented. In recent decades the Italian section has been enlarged with works by contemporary artists.

The collection of French medals (some 7,000 items) contains excellent works by 17th–century medallists such as Jean Warin and Guillaume Dupre. There is a superb series of medals to commemorate events in the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV and numerous interesting pieces from the time of the French Revolution, the 1848 Revolution and the Paris Commune. The works of celebrated medallists such as Oscar Roti, Jules Clemens Chaplain and Alfe Dubois illustrate the revival of the French medal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Largest in number is the collection of German medals, with over 11,000 items. It represents works of the remarkable medallists of the 16th century, Hans Schwartz, Mattheus Gebel and Friderich Hagenauer. In recent years, small but valuable collections of Bohemian and Hungarian pieces have been identified; these include rare examples of cast medals with religious subjects including works by Welcz Concz and Nickl and Wolf Milic. A remarkable selection of 17th-century works is closely related with Polish culture. Some valuable rossiki represent the work of the medallists Philipp Heinrich Muller and Christian Wermouth from the late 17th to early 18th centuries. The abundance of rossiki in the 19th-century collection can be explained by the Russian court's strong dynastic ties with Germany.

Historically, Swiss coins (some 2,000 items) were closely connected with Germany. Apart from early pieces of the 16th century, this collection includes works by such prominent artists as the Dassiers family and Johann Karl Hedlinger, who worked for several European monarchs, Russians among them.

The British collection (some 2,000 items) includes a number of early pieces of Cromwellian times, which came to the museum from the Kunstkammer. Among 19th-century pieces are gold medals presented to Alexander I and medals to commemorate the Crimean War.

There are 2,500 Polish medals, quite a full collection, including several rarities of the 17th century, such as a medal to commemorate the capture of Smolensk by Sigismund III in 1611, and a good selection of pieces produced by the mint in Warsaw.

From a historical point of view, of great interest are the collections of Netherlandish medals and tokens, in all some 3,000 items. Numerous pieces originate from the Kunstkammer, such as those by the renowned artists Jacques Jonnghelinck, Piter Aabele and Vouter Muller. Of the same origin is a considerable part of the collection of Swedish pieces, over 1,000 items, including a good selection of medals by Arwid Karlstein and several remarkable portraits of Queen Christina by Jean Paris.

In the small collection of Danish pieces (around 400 items), worthy of note are the large silver medals with representations of outstanding sea battles. Consisting of over 1,000 medals, the Austrian collection, created by celebrated Austrian and Hungarian artists from the early 18th century onwards, also includes works by celebrated medallists of the 20th century, including Anton Scharf, with a small but noteworthy series by Charles Wiener bearing representations of famous buildings from all over the world. In spite of a small number of medals from the USA (some 1,000 items), the American collection is distinguished by the fullness of its series and the rarity of its pieces. Latin American countries are represented by several thousand 18th- and 19th-century medals. Taken overall, the collection of medals can be perceived as a chronicle of world history, whilst at the same time giving an idea of the development of medal-engraving in Europe, Asia and America from the 15th to 20th centuries.

If you enjoyed this collection, you might want to also visit the other collections at the State Hermitage Museum.

The Arsenal

Medal of Lodovico Gonzaga
Pisanello (Antonio di Pucco Pisano)
Full description

Medal to commemorate the Victory at the Battle of Poltava
Philipp Heinrich Muller
Full description

Medal in Commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo
Benedetto Pistrucci
Full description

Medal in Commemoration of the Bicentenary of the State Hermitage
Aglaya Georgievna Knorre
Full description

The Hermitage
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