Battle of Poltava 200th Anniversary Commemorative Jetton, 1909.
Brass gilt, 35.7 mm tall, 25.2 mm wide. Obverse shows portrait of Peter I with the inscription, "Emperor Peter the Great, the Victor at Poltava, 27 June 1709 - 1909". Reverse has a nicely detailed battle scene.
In excellent condition. There are no visible nicks, scratches or edge knocks. The raised details of the artwork are beautifully preserved and crisp. Much of the original fire gilt finish is still intact in the recessed areas.
The "Great Northern War" of the early 18th century pitted the military powerhouse of Sweden against the fledgling armies of Peter the Great. On his way to capturing Moscow, however, the Swedish king, Charles XII found himself confronting and being defeated by a much larger Russian force under Peter's personal command.
It is no exaggeration to say that without the victory at Poltava (and the Russian naval victory at Gangut five years later), St. Petersburg might have a Swedish or a Finnish name today. (King Charles, in the aftermath of his defeat at Poltava, tried to make his way home to Sweden through Turkey, only to find himself the sultan's "guest" for five years!)
The site of the Poltava battle was then and is still located in the "middle of nowhere". It was certainly not a tourist destination in 1909 and, other than the official participants in the 200th battlefield celebration, most Russians stayed home and commemorated the historic victory by wearing a patriotic jettons such as this at local parades.