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
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
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
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.
Medal of Lodovico Gonzaga
Pisanello (Antonio di Pucco Pisano)
Medal to commemorate the Victory at the Battle of Poltava
Philipp Heinrich Muller
Medal in Commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo
Medal in Commemoration of the Bicentenary of the State Hermitage
Aglaya Georgievna Knorre