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Peter II, monarch title, year
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The 1 crown coin (1 kruna in Serbo-Croatian) is a medallic essai coin of the Yugoslav monarchy in exile. Authorized by the exiled King Peter II (1923–1970) and his family, the piece was struck in four metals at the Franklin Mint in 1967. As an issue of an unrecognized government, the coin is widely considered an unofficial strike.
The face value of a "crown" is not indicated on the coin itself, nor was it ever officially designated by the piece's creators. This "value" instead originates from various coin catalogs and publications, including Krause's Unusual World Coins and Ranko Mandić's Coins of Serbia, Montenegro, and Yugoslavia, which identify the piece as a "crown" because of its comparable size to the British coin of the same name.
Shortly after the conclusion of World War I (1914–1918), the Kingdom of Serbia was united with Montenegro and the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. This entity was eventually renamed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. King Peter I of Serbia (1844–1921) was declared monarch of the newly established kingdom, and his dynasty, the House of Karađorđević, was established as the nation's royal family.
In 1934, Peter II succeeded his father, Alexander I (1888–1934), as King of Yugoslavia. However, being only 11 years old at this time, Peter was considered too young to rule, and was not allowed to assume the monarchical responsibilities of the kingdom. Because of this, Prince Paul Karađorđević (1893–1976), a cousin of the deceased King Alexander, was selected to administer in place of Peter as regent until the young monarch came of age.
In 1941, after Yugoslavia signed the Axis' Tripartite Pact, military conspirators staged a successful coup d'état against the government of Prince Paul and Prime Minister Dragiša Cvetković (1893–1969). Although this initiative allowed the 17-year-old Peter II to finally seize monarchical power, it ultimately led to the invasion and subsequent occupation of Yugoslavia by Axis forces later that year. As a result, Peter was forced to flee from his home country, traveling to Greece, Palestine, and Egypt before making his way to the United Kingdom.
After the war ended in 1945, the Partisans, a prominent Yugoslav anti-Axis resistance group, established a communist government, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, in place of the monarchy. As a result, Peter was deposed by the communist constituent assembly, and was not allowed re-entrance into Yugoslavia. The young monarch then moved to the United States, where he eventually died in 1970.
Production and marketingEdit
Around 1967, Peter II authorized the production of a commemorative coin at the privately owned Franklin Mint in Pennsylvania. This, along with a medal of the Polish government-in-exile, were among the first requests done by the mint on behalf of foreign, albeit unrecognized governments. Approximately 1,002 of the Yugoslav coins manufactured were struck in franklinium II, a proprietary cupronickel-niobium alloy of the Franklin Mint. An additional 803 examples were produced in .999 fine silver, about 738 specimens were struck in .925 (sterling) silver, and a single piece was reportedly made in .750 fine (18-karat) gold. The silver and gold coins were struck with a proof finish, while the franklinium pieces were minted with a proof-like appearance.
The coins, marketed as "Royal Commemorative Coins of Liberation", were sold in informational cards and special hinged boxes by the Franklin Mint. According to the price supplement to the Numismatic Issues of the Franklin Mint, an official publication of the Franklin Mint, franklinium pieces were originally priced at US$10 ($72 in 2016 dollars), while the .925 and .999 silver coins were respectively sold for US$20 and US$25 ($144 and $180 in 2016 dollars). The original price for the gold piece is not included in this supplement; for that reason, pricing information for this coin is not included in most modern catalogs, including Krause's Unusual World Coins; Ranko Mandić's Coins of Serbia, Montenegro, and Yugoslavia; and Zlatko Viščević's Coins and Banknotes of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.
Examples of the coin are known in franklinium II, .750 fine gold, and .925 and .999 fine silver. All pieces, regardless of composition, are about the size of a crown, measuring 38.7 millimeters in diameter. They use medallic alignment and are round in shape, and the rims of both the obverse and reverse are raised and decorated with a dentilated border. The edge of the gold and silver pieces consists of a large reeded section and a plain segment containing a unique serial number. In contrast, the edges on the franklinium coins are only reeded.
A right-facing portrait of the late King Peter II is displayed in the middle of the obverse. The Cyrillic legend "ПЕТАР II КРАЉ ЈУГОСЛАВИЈЕ", which translates from Serbo-Croatian as "Peter II, King of Yugoslavia", is engraved clockwise along the coin's left rim. Its Latin equivalent, "PETAR II KRALJ JUGOSLAVIJE", is curved in the same direction at the right periphery, and is separated from the Cyrillic by a small circular point at the top of the obverse. Inscribed in smaller print at the bottom of the piece is the Gregorian date of minting, "1967".
Displayed in the center of the reverse is the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia – which consists of a central escutcheon surmounted by the Karađorđević dynastic crown. A double-headed eagle is illustrated in the escutcheon, bearing on its breast a shield featuring symbols of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, three of the constitutive ethnic groups of Yugoslavia. Surrounding the central escutcheon is a royal mantle topped by the Karađorđević dynastic crown. Engraved to the lower right of the arms on the coin is the "FM" mark of the Franklin Mint, and written directly below the heraldic symbol in small print is the word "ESSAI". The Cyrillic motto "СЛОБОДА ИЛИ СМРТ", is printed clockwise at the upper rim, while its Latin equivalent, "SLOBODA ILI SMRT", is written in the opposite direction at the coin's lower boundary. This motto, translating literally as "freedom or death", was often used by the Chetniks, a royalist anti-Axis movement that aimed to restore the Yugoslav monarchy after World War II ended. Excluding "СЛОБОДА" and "ИЛИ" in the Cyrillic legend, which are divided by the crown in the arms, the words in the two legends are separated from one another by circular points.
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – Yugoslavia - Crown, X# E1 (1967) • Yugoslavia - Crown, X# E2 (1967) • Yugoslavia - Crown, X# E3 (1967) • Yugoslavia - Crown, X# E4
- Numismatic Issues of the Franklin Mint. Franklin Mint. 1969.
- Viščević, Zlatko (2011). Coins and Banknotes of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia (2nd ed.). Numizmatičko društvo Castua. ISBN 9789535689003
- CoinWeek – "The Rise and Fall of the Franklin Mint" (28 December 2015)