The Central Bank of the Russian Federation have issued (1st April) gold and silver commemorative coins marking the 50th anniversary of the first human to ever orbit the planet and return safely.
The event was a wonder to the entire world in 1961 and sparked the space race between the then-Soviet Union and the United States, who eventually won the race by landing a man on the Moon in 1969. The hero of the day, Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (1934 – 1968) was blasted into space aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft on the 12th April 1961. He orbited the earth one time and returned, all in one day which changed the course of human development.
The obverse of the gold coin, designed by artist S.A. Kozlov depicts a half-length portrait of Yuri Gagarin in his space-suit with his right hand raised against the background of a celestial sky. To the left below Gagarin’s right arm is the date of the flight in two lines: "12.04 1961 г." Above the main image of Gagarin is the inscription in Cyrillic "50 ЛЕТ ПЕРВОГО ПОЛЕТА ЧЕЛОВЕКА В КОСМОС" (50 YEARS OF MAN'S FIRST SPACE FLIGHT).
The reverse of the coin carries the emblem of the Bank of Russia, the two-headed eagle, with the inscription "БАНК РОССИИ" (BANK OF RUSSIA) just under the emblem. The inscription "ОДНА ТЫСЯЧА РУБЛЕЙ" (ONE THOUSAND RUBLES), can be seen above the emblem. The year of issue, 2011, appears below the Bank of Russia’s text. On either side of the year is the fineness and metal content (Au 999) and the trade mark insignia of the Moscow Mint.
The gold coins will be struck in proof quality with a weight of 156.4 grams and a diameter of 50 mm. The total mintage of this issue is limited to just 500 pieces.
The obverse of the silver coin is also the work of designer S.A. Kozlov and carries a stylized image of Gagarin in his space-suit positioned to the right side. The inscription on the left side reads "50 ЛЕТ ПЕРВОГО ПОЛЕТА ЧЕЛОВЕКА В КОСМОС" (50 YEARS OF MAN'S FIRST SPACE FLIGHT) with the numeral “50” silhouetted behind the text. The background includes a color application of the earth as seen from space and a facsimile signature of Gagarin just under his portrait.
The reverse of the coin carries the emblem of the Bank of Russia, with the inscriptions "БАНК РОССИИ" (BANK OF RUSSIA) and "ТРИ РУБЛЯ" (THREE RUBLES). On either side is the fine metal content (Ag 925) and the trade mark insignia of the St. Petersburg Mint. The year of issue, 2011, appears at the base.
The silver coins are struck in proof quality with a weight of 33.9 grams and a diameter of 39 mm. The total mintage of this coin is limited to 7,500 pieces.
For more information on this and other coins struck by the Moscow or St. Petersburg Mints, please visit the website of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation at: http://www.cbr.ru/eng/bank-notes_coins/Base_of_memorable_coins/