A collector coin to honour the skills of Fabergé’s Finnish goldsmith

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December 8, 2011 – In spring of 2012, Mint of Finland and the Ministry of Finance are planning to issue a collector coin commemorating the skills of Finnish master goldsmiths. Henrik Wigström (1862-1923) is a worthy representative, and the coin would feature two imperial Easter eggs linked to the name of this great artisan. It would be the first time the Finnish state has recognized a goldsmith.

Henrik Wigström was a key person at the firm of Karl Fabergé, court jeweller to the Russian imperial family. From 1884 to 1903, he was the assistant of the firm’s head workmaster Mikhail Perkhin. He succeeded Perkhin in 1903 and was himself head workmaster until the revolution. At that time, 20 per cent of all goldsmiths working in St Petersburg were Finnish.

Romanov Tercentenary Egg by Fabergé 1913 under the guidance of Henrik Wigström. Source: Wikipedia.

“The most important and spectacular pieces by Fabergé were crafted under the guidance of Henrik Wigström. Of the fifty imperial Easter eggs completed, twenty are signed by him. I am thrilled that the state has decided to acknowledge the exquisite craftsmanship of Finnish goldsmiths in the form of this collector coin,” says art historian Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm, who specializes in the work of the St Petersburg goldsmiths and was one of the specialists of the committee appointed by the Ministry of Finance to select the winning coin.

The Finnish goldsmith trade is proud of its imperial Russian heritage. During the time Finland was a grand duchy of the Russian Empire, more or less all goldsmiths were trained in the capital city of St Petersburg.
Most of those active at the time of the revolution returned to their country of birth, in turn conveying their skills to new generations of craftsmen.

The new Finnish collector coin.

Sculptor Pertti Mäkinen – designer of the Finnish one euro coin – had the winning entry.
The obverse depicts an unfinished Easter egg with an engraver’s tool on the side and a graver. The egg in question reminds of the well-known Coronation Egg, a gift by Nicholas II to his consort Empress Aleksandra Feodorovna in memory of their coronation in 1896.
Henrik Wigström has signed the inside of the shells. Wigström family stories tell of the personal connection the master had to this magnificent object.
The reverse references the Swan Egg made in 1906 and given by Nicholas II to his mother, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. The surprise within the egg is a swan made of platinum, gold, and precious stones swimming on a lake of aquamarine.

Minted in silver, the nominal value of the Henrik Wigström collector coin is ten euros. Finland participates in the European Silver Star collector coin programme, which is organized by mints around Europe.
Since 2004, several European countries have participated in the programme by issuing coins under a unified theme. The theme for 2012 is European artists.
The year 2012 also marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henrik Wigström.

For more information on this and other coins of the Mint of Finland, please click here.

Even in today’s Fabergé collection you will find eggs. You can check out and look for them here.