Medaille auf den Sieg über die Türken bei Foksan

Medal “For the Victory over Turks at the Battle of Focsani”

Medal for Victory over Turks at Focsani Battle 2

That commemorative medal was minted in Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, one of the Saxon Duchies ruled by the Ernestine line of the Wettin dynasty, during the reign of Ernst Friedrich von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld (08.03.1724-08.09.1800) who ascended the throne on September 16, 1764. Medals were issued to celebrate decisive victory of Russian and Austrian troops commanded by the legendary General-in-chief (later Generalissimo) Alexander Suvorov (24.11.1730-18.05.1800) and Prince Friedrich Josias von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld (26.12.1737-26.02.1815) over superior Ottomans troops at the Battle of Focsani. The latter was fought during the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-1792 that took place concurrently with the Austro-Turkish War of 1787-1791.

Medal for Victory over Turks at Focsani Battle 3

An obverse with noticeably raised border showed head and shoulders portrait of Prince Friedrich Josias von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld, Imperial Field Marshal (Kaiserliche Feldmarschall, 1789) and Imperial General Field Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsgeneralfeldmarschall des Heiligen Römischen Reiches, 1793) facing left (or right in heraldic perspective). The Prince was showed wearing Austrian military uniform with wide sash and Grand Cross of Military Order of Maria Theresa (Militär-Maria-Theresien-Orden). Mintmark of the court medalist Johann Christian Reich (02.04.1740-21.03.1814) – “∙ R ∙” – was situated at the lower right part of the obverse. Portrait of the warlord was circumscribed “Prince of Saxe-Coburg Friedrich Josias, Imperial and Royal Austrian Field Marshal” (“Frid[ericus] ∙ Iosias Prinz  v[on] ∙ S[achsen] ∙ Coburg ∙ K[ayserlich] ∙ K[oeniglich] ∙ Œ[sterreichischer] ∙ Fe[ld] ∙ Mar[schall] ∙”) in capital letters.

A reverse with the same border was divided into two unequal parts with the horizontal line. The bigger one occupying three quarters showed battle scene with the mounted Prince commanding Austrian cavalry attacking Turkish mounted units. Fortress of Beograd was situated at the upper right portion of background. Inscription in capital letters “Long Live Joseph II” (“Es lebe Ioseph ∙ II ∙”) was running in semi-circle above the battle scene. The lower part of the reverse below the dividing line had inscription in four horizontal lines: “Victory of Austrians and Russians over Turks near Focsani, July 31, 1789” (“Sieg ∙ d[er] ∙ Oestreicher ∙ u[nd] ∙ Russen ∙ ü[ber] ∙ die Türken ∙ bey ∙ Foksan d[en] ∙ 31 Iul ∙ 1789”).

It is funny, but that inscription was misrepresented in period reference literature. Thus, book “Neuestes Münzkabinet oder Beschreibung mehrerer interessanter Münzen und Medaillen” written by “the former Benedictine monk” Pater Coelestinus Stöhr and published in 1882 in Kulmbach, adduced inscription as “Sieg d. Oestreicher u. Preuſsen ü. die Türken”, i.e. “Victory of Austrians and Prussians (sic!) over Turks”. The same misprint is found in another source, namely “Ueber das Münzwesen der alten und neuen Zeit mit angehängten Reductions-Tabellen” by Friedrich Loew, issued in Regensburg in 1828.

Circular medal measuring 47,38 mm in diameter and weighing 35,93 g was manufactured of tin. Silver pieces measuring 47,35 mm in diameter and weighing 41,09 g were minted as well.

Medal for Victory over Turks at Focsani Battle 1