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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 2320. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $4500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ARMENIA. Circa 18th Century (Dated 1558). AV Gilt 35mm Medal (9.72 gm). "St. Gregory help those of us who are suffering" (in Armenian), St. Gregory the Illuminator enthroned facing, holding in his left hand the pontifical crosier and raising right hand in blessing; A and H (in Armenian) at shoulders, A.1558.K. below / Legend (first line of the first verse from the hymn of Holy Etchmiadzin), south-west view of the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin; A.301.P. (in Armenian; "Savior of All") below. H.V. Sarkissian, "A Group of Armenian Religious Medals of the Eighteenth Through Twentieth Century," ArmNJ XV (1989), 1. Good VF, of great historical interest. [See color plate 15] ($5000)

Ex Hess-Divo Auktion 271 (4 June 1997), lot 674.

St. Gregory the Illuminator (regnal period 302-305 AD) was the first catholicos, or pontiff, of the Armenian Church. King Tiridates, whom he baptized, aided St. Gregory to construct the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin (Etchmiadzin in Armenian means "the place where the Only Begotten Son descended") which is commemorated by the reverse of this medal. The cathedral remains today the Holy See of the Armenian Church where the Catholicos of all Armenians still occupies his throne (see Y.T. Nercessian, "Armenia and the Los Angeles Medals; 2. Etchmiadzin," in Armenian Numismatic Studies, pp. 579-580).

The sale of this medal is especially timely since in 2001 Armenians celebrated the 1700th anniversary of Christianity as the state religion of Armenia. Although St. Thaddeus (martyred in Ardazus, Armenia in 50 AD) and St. Bartholomew (martyred in Albacus in 68 AD), both disciples of Jesus, preached in Armenia, Christianity did not become the Armenia's state religion until the baptism of Tiridates in 301. [Information provided courtesy of the Armenian Numismatic Society, 8511 Beverly Park Place, Pico Rivera, CA 90660-1920, USA].