Over the past decade precious metals have been in high demand, this has spawned numerous new bullion issues from world mints as well as expansions to existing series. Ukraine is just one of many countries and minting facilities including Rwanda, Czechoslovakia, The Netherlands, The Mint of Poland, Komsco and The Scottsdale Mint to name a few of the opportunists who have jumped in on the Bullion Bandwagon. The Ukrainian Archangel series was one of the first newcomers and quickly expanded in size and diversity as more numismatists discovered the series. Although the series has been scaled back in recent years, with the suspension of the gold fractionals the one ounce silver and gold offerings are still highly popular.
Starting in 2011 the National Bank of Ukraine (hereafter referred to as the NBU) began a bullion coin series, the archangel series. The bullion offerings in the first year consisted of a 1oz silver coin along with 1 and ¼ ounce gold issues. The next year (2012) the NBU expanded its gold bullion range to include two more fractionals, 1/10 and 1/2 ounce archangel coins. The mintages of the gold coins has never surpassed 10,000 coins in any of the various weights. The coins are often priced at a point (outside of Ukraine) that is far above the spot price of the precious metal content, meaning that most investors cannot afford or do not wish to invest in the coins, as a result the mintage figures remain miniscule due to low demand internationally. In 2017 the NBU suspended production of all gold Archangel bullion coins, making 2017 the only year since 2011 that the NBU did not mint a gold bullion Archangel. In 2018 the NBU relaunched the 1 oz. gold Archangel after a one year hiatus and a record mintage of 10,000 in 2016, the NBU did not however bring back any of the fractional gold coinage.
In 2013 -2014 the Euromaidan Revolution was taking place in Ukraine. Citizen’s demanding government reform succeeded in overthrowing the siting president, many of his staff and high ranking officials. As a result of the Euromaidan Revolution and pending government upheaval the acting Ukrainian Prime minister and then U.S. President Obama made an arrangement to remove the majority of Ukraine’s gold reserves from the NBU to be kept in safe holding by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. This removal of the gold reserves, government corruption, the Euromaidan Revolution, government coup, devaluation of the Ukrainian National Currency (the Hryvnia), followed immediately by the beginning of a civil war between Russian backed Separatists and the new Ukrainian Government backed by the U.S. and the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia. Were all factors in the suspension/ending of the gold bullion Archangel coins starting in 2017. To this date the exact whereabouts of the Ukrainian gold reserves are still unknown. Senior officials at the NBU have since admitted to the removal of the nation’s gold reserves in 2014. It is rumored that the hijacked gold reserves are being held “for safe keeping” in vaults in China, under U.S./U.K. bullion bank contractual delivery obligations, where it will be locked away for years.
All Archangel coins are produced by the NBU, which has the dual role of producing the nation’s currency and implementing its monetary policies, as well as striking bullion coins for investment purposes. Located in the capital city of Kiev, the NBU was formed in 1992 following the fall and separation of states within the Soviet Union. Originally serving as a central bank for the region during Soviet occupation, the bank today serves the independent Ukrainian government in the production of paper currency and coinage for circulation, as well as commemorative precious metals.
The designers of the Archangel (obverse and reverse) are Volodymyr Taran and twin brothers Serhii and Oleksandr Kharuk this triumvirate constitutes the artistic group ARTTRIUM, which has designed a great number of commemorative Ukrainian coinage and notes. The group ARTTRIUM have also won several awards for their design work on several Ukrainian coins, including multiple Ukrainian coins of the Year along with international recognition for their work on such coins as the 2012 EUFA dual coin with Poland and a first place finish in the annual competition held by the Mint of Japan. The name ARTTRIUM has a duel meaning the first being ATTRIUM is a play on atrium, a glass-covered space located within a building providing light to the interior. The artists see themselves as conductors of light bringing excitement and a spirit of hope, harmony and togetherness into a sometimes routine life. ARTTRIUM can also be interpreted as art trio – a union of three artistic minds.
Known for winning victory over evil, the Archangel Michael is the patron Saint and protector of Ukraine and the capitol city of Kiev. The Archangel Michael is known in many religions, his names and titles include Saint, Taxiarch and the right hand of God. The Archangel Michael is seen as a healer, leader of the army of God and protector of children. Artistic depictions and religious iconography vary in their portrayals of Michael. The Archangel Michael is sometimes seen with a full suite of Roman-inspired armor, a flaming sword, shield and outstretched wings. Being one of the most powerful and respected figures in many religious cultures and teachings, as well as holding a special place in Ukrainian religion and culture along with being a symbol of strength, power, purity and goodness the Archangel Michael is a perfect choice to adorn Ukraine’s first national bullion issue.Read more...