Milan Obrenović IV coinage: 1875-1884.
Milan Obrenović (Serbian Cyrillic: Милан Обреновић; 22 August 1854 – 11 February 1901), was the ruler of Serbia from 1868 to 1889, first as prince (10 June 1868 – 06 March 1882), subsequently as king (06 March 1882 – 06 March 1889). Milan Obrenović was born in 1854 in Mărășești, Moldavia where his family lived in exile ever since the 1842 return of the rival House of Karađorđević to the Serbian throne when they managed to depose Milan's cousin Prince Mihailo Obrenović III.

Milan was the son of Miloš Obrenović (1829–1861) and his Moldavian wife Elena Maria Catargiu (known in Serbia as Marija Obrenović). Milan's paternal grandfather (Miloš's father) was Jevrem Obrenović (1790–1856), brother of the famous Serb Prince - Miloš Obrenović. Milan was therefore Prince Miloš's grandnephew. Milan had only one sibling - sister Tomanija.

Shortly after Milan's birth, his parents divorced. Several years later on 20 November 1861, at the age of seven, Milan lost his father Miloš who died fighting the Turks near Bucharest as a foreign mercenary in the Romanian Army, meaning that mother Marija got a legal custody. Marija, however, lived a lavish aristocratic lifestyle, soon becoming Romanian ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza's mistress and bearing him two sons — Sașa and Dimitrie. As a result, she showed little interest in her children from the previous marriage with Miloš. Therefore, an agreement was reached for young Milan to get legally adopted by his cousin Mihailo Obrenović III who in the meantime, following the 1858 expulsion of the Karađorđevićs, had returned to Serbia where he became the ruling prince in 1860.

On 10 June 1868, when Milan was only fourteen years of age, Prince Mihailo Obrenović III was assassinated. As the late prince did not have any male heirs, the question of who was to succeed him on the Serbian throne became a pressing one. In the post-assassination chaos and the resulting power vacuum, influential senior statesman Ilija Garašanin re-emerged in Serbian political life, despite only eight months earlier being removed by the late prince from the post of Prime Minister of Serbia and replaced with Jovan Ristić. While consolidating forces within the state to prevent the conspirators from taking over the power, Garašanin also reportedly contemplated solving the throne issue by starting a third royal dynasty. General political consensus was that the new ruler should be selected by the Visoka narodna skupština (Grand National Council). However, cabinet minister Milivoje Petrović Blaznavac was rapidly increasing his power and influence. He had managed to consolidate his control over the army and stage a coup d'état. So when Blaznavac suggested the young Milan as the successor to Prince Mihailo, Garašanin had no choice but to yield to the more powerful authority.

On 22 August 1872, Milan was declared of age, and he took government into his own hands. He soon demonstrated great intellectual capacity, coupled with a passionate headstrong character. Eugene Schuyler, who observed him about this time, found him to be a very remarkable, singularly intelligent and well-informed young man. The Principality of Serbia was still a de jure part of the Ottoman Empire though in reality it already had long functioned as a semi-independent state whose politics and economy was much more dependent on other Great Powers, particularly Austria-Hungary and Russian Empire, than on its formal ruler, the declining Ottomans. Milan carefully manoeuvred between the Austrian and Russian geopolitical interests in Serbia, with a judicious leaning towards the former.

When Serbs from the neighbouring Bosnia Vilayet (also part of the Ottoman Empire though a lot more integrated and loyal one due to its large Muslim population) began an uprising in July 1875 on the outskirts of Nevesinje, protesting the tax system as well as harsh treatment under local beys and aghas, Prince Milan condemned the uprising and refused to take part in it. The rival House of Karađorđević, whose members lived in exile across Europe, had a different approach, taking part in organising and implementing the uprising. Their actions included the 31-year-old Petar Karađorđević going to the Herzegovina region in order to fight under the pseudonym Petar Mrkonjić. As the uprising grew, spreading to the rest of Herzegovina and soon engulfing the entire Bosnia Vilayet, domestic pressure in the Serbian principality increased on young Prince Milan to help his Serb brethren.


Milan married Natalie Keschko on 17 October [O.S. 5 October] 1875 at the St. Michael's Cathedral, Belgrade, Serbia. Natalie, sixteen years of age, was the daughter of Petre Ivanovich Keschko, an Imperial Russian Army colonel. Natalie's mother, Pulcheria, was by birth a Sturdza, meaning that the couple were fairly close second cousins because Milan's mother Elena and Natalie's father Petre were the children of two sisters, meaning that Milan and Natalija shared a set of great-grandparents. This relation meant that their marriage had to be specifically approved by the church, namely Metropolitan Mihailo Jovanović, the Metropolitan of Belgrade, however, this wasn't done. A son, Alexander, was born to Natalija and Milan in 1876, but their relationship showed signs of friction right from the start.

At the end of the Serbo-Turkish War (1876–78), Prince Milan induced the Porte to acknowledge his independence at the Treaty of Berlin. On 6 March 1882, Principality of Serbia was declared a kingdom and Milan was proclaimed King of Serbia. Acting under Austrian influence, King Milan devoted all his energies to the improvement of the means of communication and the development of natural resources. However, the cost of this, unduly increased by reckless extravagance, led to disproportionately heavy taxation. This, coupled with increased military service, rendered King Milan and the Austrian party unpopular.

Milan's political troubles were further increased by the defeat of the Serbians in the war against Bulgaria from 1885–1886. In September 1885, the union of Eastern Rumelia and Bulgaria caused widespread agitation in Serbia[citation needed] . Milan promptly declared war upon the new Bulgarian state on 15 November. After a short, decisive campaign, the Serbs were utterly routed at the Battle of Slivnitsa and at the Battle of Pirot. Milan's throne was only saved by the direct intervention of Austria-Hungary. Domestic difficulties now arose which rapidly assumed political significance.

In his personal life, Milan was anything but a faithful husband, having an affair with most notably Clara Frewen (sister in law of Lord Randolph Churchill and aunt to Winston Churchill) among others, while Queen Natalija was greatly influenced by Russian sympathies. In 1886, the couple, mismatched both personally and politically, separated after eleven years of marriage. Natalija withdrew from the kingdom, taking with her the ten-year-old Prince Alexander (later King Alexander I). While she was residing at Wiesbaden in 1888, King Milan succeeded in recovering the crown prince, whom he undertook to educate. In reply to the queen's remonstrances, Milan exerted considerable pressure upon the metropolitan, and procured a divorce, which was afterwards annulled as illegal. King Milan now seemed master of the situation.

On 03 January 1889, Milan adopted a new constitution much more liberal than the existing one of 1869. Two months later, on 6 March, thirty-four-year-old Milan suddenly abdicated the throne, handing it over to his twelve-year-old son. No satisfactory reason was assigned for this step. Milan settled in Paris as a private individual.

The good relations between father and son were interrupted, by Alexander I's marriage to Draga Mašin in July 1900. Milan opposed the match to the point that he resigned his post as commander-in-chief. Alexander subsequently banished Milan from Serbia. Milan left Serbia to Karlsbad, then to Timișoara and finally retired to Vienna. On 11 February 1901, Milan died unexpectedly. He was buried in Krušedol monastery, next to his grandaunt Princess Ljubica, Prince Miloš's wife.
 
 
Dinar = 100 para
Currency: Silver coins were introduced in 1875, in denominations of 50 paras, 1 and 2 dinars, followed by 5 dinars in 1879. The first gold coins were also issued in 1879, for 20 dinars, with 10 dinars introduced in 1882. The gold coins issued for the coronation of Milan I coronation in 1882 were popularly called milandor (French Milan d'Or). In 1883, cupro-nickel 5, 10 and 20 para coins were introduced, followed by bronze 2 paras coins in 1904.
 
 Prince of Serbia (10 June 1868 – 06 March 1882).
1875
 

Serbia KM#5 1 Dinar. Year: 1875. Weight: 4.72 g [5.00 g]. Metal: 0.835 Silver. Diameter: 22.85 mm [23.00 mm]. Edge: Plain. Alignment: Medal. Mint: Vienna, Austria. Obverse: Crown at the top. Numeral "1" in the center with "ДИНАР" (Dinar) written below. Date "1875" below the Value. Wreath surrounds the Value and Date.
Reverse: Milan's portrait facing left in the center. "МИЛАН М. ОБРЕНОВИЋ IV. КЊАЗ СРПСКИ" (Milan Obrenović IV, Prince of Serbia) written clockwise around the portrait. "F. LEISEN" written below the neck. Mintage: 3,000,000 + N.A. Proofs. Mintage Years: One year type. Engraver: Friedrich "Franz" Leisek (both sides).

Note: The 1875 and the 1879 issue were for a long period of time identified as one type even though they were engraved by two different designers. Several years ago it was noted that the major difference was that the 1875 issue was an earlier portrait of Prince Milan before he grew a mustache and that the 1879 issued was with a mustache. This is quite unique in coinage designs, as rarely has the portrait of male rulers been changed, while it is very common to show small changes when it comes to female rulers shown on coinage.

 
1879
 

Serbia KM#8 10 para. Year: 1879. Weight: 9.85 g [9.75 g]. Metal: Bronze. Diameter: 30.00 mm. Edge: Plain. Alignment: Coin. Mint: Paris, France. Obverse: Crown at the top. Numeral "10" in the center with "ПАРА" (para) written below. Date "1879" below the Value. Wreath surrounds the Value and Date.

Reverse: Milan's portrait facing left in the center. "МИЛАН М. ОБРЕНОВИЋ IV. КЊАЗ СРПСКИ" (Milan Obrenović IV, Prince of Serbia) written clockwise around the portrait. "TASSET" written below the neck. Mintage: 9,000,000 + N.A. Proofs. Mintage Years: One year type. Engraver: Ernest Paulin Tasset (both sides).

Ernest Paulin Tasset , known as Paulin Tasset (b. Paris, November 15, 1839 - d. 1921 ), was a sculptor , French engraver and French medalist. Ernest Paulin Tasset was a student of Eugčne-André Oudiné (1810-1887). Paulin Tasset has been featured in the Salon of the French Artist Society since 1883. He received an honorable mention in 1876 ; At the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889 he received honorable mention, and at the 1900 Universal Exhibition he won the bronze medal. Tasset was awarded the title of knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor in 1895. Paulin Tasset worked for the Paris Mint , where he created numerous medals and commemorative coins. He engraved numerous coins for Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Greece, Morocco, Monaco, Romania and Uruguay. His workshop was at 17, Clamart Street (now André-Salel, aviation pioneer ), in Fontenay-aux-Roses, Hauts-de-Seine.

Serbia KM#10 1 Dinar. Year: 1879. Weight: 4.93 g [5.00 g]. Metal: 0.835 Silver. Diameter: 23.00 mm. Edge: Reeded. Alignment: Medal. Mint: Paris, France. Obverse: Crown at the top. Numeral "1" in the center with "ДИНАР" (Dinar) written below. Date "1879" below the Value. Wreath surrounds the Value and Date.
Reverse: Milan's portrait facing left in the center. "МИЛАН М. ОБРЕНОВИЋ IV. КЊАЗ СРПСКИ" (Milan Obrenović IV, Prince of Serbia) written clockwise around the portrait. "TASSET" written below the neck. Mintage: 800,000 + N.A. Proofs. Mintage Years: One year type. Engraver: Ernest Paulin Tasset (both sides).

Serbia KM#12 5 Dinara. Year: 1879. Weight: 24.86 g [25.00 g]. Metal: 0.900 Silver. Diameter: 37.00 mm. Edge: Lettering relief legends: "БОГ*ЧУВА*СРБИЈУ***" (God protects Serbia). Alignment: Medal. Mint: Paris, France. Obverse: Crown at the top. Numeral "5" in the center with "ДИНАРА" (Dinara) written below. Date "1879" below the Value. Wreath surrounds the Value and Date. Reverse: Milan's portrait facing left in the center. "МИЛАН М. ОБРЕНОВИЋ IV. КЊАЗ СРПСКИ" (Milan Obrenović IV, Prince of Serbia) written clockwise around the portrait. "TASSET" written below the neck. Mintage: 200,000 + N.A. Proofs. Mintage Years: One year type. Engraver: Ernest Paulin Tasset (both sides).

Note: My coin has readable edge letters when the date side is on the top.

 
King of Serbia (06 March 1882 – 06 March 1889).
1882
 

Serbia KM#16 10 Dinara. Year: 1882. Weight: 3.21 g [3.2258 g]. Metal: 0.900 Gold. Diameter: 19.00 mm. Edge: Reeded. Alignment: Coin. Mint: Vienna, Austria. Obverse: Crown at the top. Numeral "10" in the center with "ДИНАРA" (Dinara) written below. Date "1882" below the Value. Wreath surrounds the Value and Date. "V" written at the bottom.

Reverse: Milan's portrait facing right in the center. "МИЛАН I" (Milan I) written clockwise at left side. "КРАЉ СРБИЈЕ" (King of Serbia) written clockwise at right side. "A•SCHARFF" written below the neck. Mintage: 300,000. Mintage Years: One year type. Engraver: Anton Karl Rudolf Scharff (both sides).

 
1884
 

Serbia KM#20 20 para. Year: 1884. Weight: 5.71 g [5.60 g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Diameter: 22.00 mm. Edge: Plain. Alignment: Coin. Mint: Birmingham, England. Obverse: Numeral "20" in the center. "КРАЉЕВИНА СРБИЈА 1884" (The Kingdom of Serbia with Date) written at the top section. "H" mintmark below numeral 20. "*ПАРА*" (para) written at the bottom.
Reverse: Crowned heraldic eagle in the center. Mintage: 6,000,000 + N.A. Proofs. Mintage Years: 1883, 1884H, 1904, 1912 and 1917G (1883 and 1884H are Coin alignment coins while others dates are Medal alignment).
 
 
Click on below links to view coinage used by Serbia:
  • OBRENOVIĆ
  • Mihailo [Michael] Obrenović III (2nd time)............26 Sep 1860 - 10 Jun 1868
  • Milan II [Milan Obrenović IV] (King from 1882)........02 Jul 1868 - 06 Mar 1889
  • Aleksandar............................................06 Mar 1889 - 11 Jun 1903
  • KARAGEORGEVIĆ
  • Peter I (King of Serbs, Croats, & Slovenes from 1918).15 Jun 1903 - 16 Aug 1921
  • Aleksandar (Kingdom of Yugoslavia from 1929)..........16 Aug 1921 - 09 Oct 1934
  • Peter II..............................................09 Oct 1934 - 29 Nov 1945
  • Occupied Territory and Federal Republic
  • German occupation.....................................13 Apr 1941 - 20 Oct 1944
  • Democratic Federative Yugoslavia......................29 Nov 1943 - 29 Nov 1945
  • Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia............29 Nov 1945 - 07 Apr 1963
  • Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia..............07 Apr 1963 - 27 Apr 1992
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia........................27 Apr 1992 - 04 Feb 2003
  • Serbia and Montenegro.................................04 Feb 2003 - 03 Jun 2006
  • Republic of Serbia....................................05 Jun 2006 - date

 

 
 
 
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