Monday, April 4, 2011

Propaganda on Coins of the Soviet Union

Proof issue of 50 Kopek coin from Soviet Union (1924).

Soviet propaganda was designed in socialist realism style.  Thus all art, including numismatics, had to be created in socialist realism.  The year 1924 saw two coins present heroic and inspiring images of the proletariat. Both coins tell stories. The 50 Kopek coin (above) was issued from 1924 until 1927. It presents a muscular young worker, clad in an apron, work pants and boots. He is pounding metal on an anvil with a large mallet. Sparks are flying from the anvil as the worker looks down at the metal he is shaping. Behind the worker sits an idle plow and other farm implements, as if to imply that he has left the farm in order to help build the new industrialized Soviet state.

One Rouble coin struck in 1924.

The one Rouble coin struck in 1924 (photo above) tells the story of two proletarians, one old and one young. The old worker wears a beard and is hunched over slightly. He leans on a farm tool with his right hand, and holds a sickle in his left; behind him is a farm. The young worker is clean shaven and has his arm around the old worker. He points to the future. We see the sun rising brightly over mountains and a factory building. The young proletarian is telling the old one that the future greatness of the Soviet Union will come through industrialization.

R.S.F.S.R. gold Chervonetz (10 Roubles) 1923 ПЛ

The Chervonetz (10 Roubles) is a gold coin struck for foreign trade.  It was minted before the formation of the Soviet Union, during the time of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (R.S.F.S.R.).  This was the name of Russia before the inclusion of the Soviet Socialist Republics, which took place in 1924.  The Chervonetz was minted in 1923 by the R.S.F.S.R.  In 1925, the Soviet Union attempted striking the Chervonetz and only one is known.  From 1975 to 1982 the coin was struck by the Soviet Union. 

This coin also tells a propaganda story in socialist realism.  A peasant is working the soil with his tools behind him.  He looks off to the side to see a new factory with billowing smokestacks.  The recurring propaganda theme of leaving the farm for a job in industry is presented on this coin.  Even coins were employed to push Stalin's message of rapid industrialization to bring the agrarian Soviet Union into the 20th century.

Reverse of 1924 Rouble coin showing emblem of the Soviet Union.

"STALINMANIA: The Soviet Dictator in Propaganda, Art and Advertising"

 "Socialist Realism Gone Wild: Stalinist Art and Architecture in the Soviet Empire"


1 comment:

  1. How ya goin' to keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen dreary Moscow? Too bad Stalin didn't keep more farmers on the...well, the farm. Might have saved a few million Russians from starvation. Of course, Stalin and his fellow thugs ate well. Very well. F5


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