Russia: Moses/"Shmah Yisrael" prayer Jewish tallion, circa. late 19th Century; silver; possibly Aleksandr Sergeev Yegorov of Moscow; size: 18.25mm x 27mm; weight: 2.95g.
Oval tallion depicting Moses with rays above his head, holding tablet of the Ten Commandments. On reverse, on 6 lines, in Hebrew, separated by rosette devices, the most important prayer in the Jewish religion, "To the Loyal King: Hear O Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One. Blessed is the Name of His Glorious Kingdom for all Eternity".
Tallions of this kind were popular in the late 19th Century in Czarist Russia and may have been given as gifts to Bar or Bat Mitzvah boys and girls. The designs seen on other tallions are almost identical to this one (including Moses' diagonal rod passing across him), though the text of the prayer can vary (omitting the first and third utterances).
However, with regard to the text used, some contain serious incompletions or spelling mistakes (of G-d's name) - perhaps by non-Jewish minters or engravers: here, the prayer is written correctly for a single person (of Ashkenazi tradition) and so opens with "To the Loyal King:" ("El Melech Neeman") - whose first letters in Hebrew are "AMEN" (when praying individually, one does not say "Amen" at the end of the prayer, so this opening substitutes for it); these three words also complete the letter count of the "Shmah Yisrael" prayer: it should have 248 letters to symbolize the 248 organs in a person's body. Here the name "G-d" is correctly written in Hebrew as the 4-lettered word "Yehova" rather than with a double "Yud" letter as is seen on other incorrectly designed tallions.
As the silversmith's marks are stamped on the loop (obverse side), they are hard to discern but appear to be "AE" with the standard Russian silver content "84" (partially clipped) of that time (84/96th pure silver). Yegorov, also spelled (incorrectly) "Egorov" may have been a Jewish silversmith as his name appears on other religious articles of Jewish interest. In F-VF.
מילות מפתח: מדליות אירועים יהודיים דתיים אסימונים צדקה פדיון תשליך ברית מילה חתונה נישואין ראש השנה יודאיקה יודאיכה רוסיה