Duke on horseback right, carrying a falcon, all within a solid border, partial old russian inscription in the circular margin: KHAZb BEΛHKH BACHΛEH ("Grand Duke Vasiliy") / Samson fighting a lion within a circle, partial old russian inscription in the circular margin: KHAZb BEΛHKH BACHΛEH ("Grand Duke Vasiliy"). 12mmx15.5mm, 0.68 grams. Huletzky/Petrunin #401-E.
Very rare early wire denga, high quality and beautiful metal!
According to the bible, Samson was born when the Israelites were dominated by the gentile Philistines. This was analogous to the position of Muscovites, who were dominated by the Muslim Jochids. Perhaps the Samson design was also chosed to show Vasily Vasiliyevich as a future hero, able in the future to fight and free his people from the domination of the Mongols.
The reasons behind the use of the unusual design showing Samson fighting a lion is unclear. It probably originates in the desire of Vasily Dmitriyevich to strengthen the position of his son Vasily (Zaitsev 2004, pages 22-24). The threat to his son was coming from his uncle, Yury Dmitriyevich. V. Zaitsev speculated that the symbolic depiction of his son Vasily as Samson, fighting the lion (Yury), was used to show his preference of the succession of his son. The combination of the obverse showing Vasily Vasiliyevich as Samson and the reverse showing the Duke on horseback (usually a depiction of the ruling Duke - in this case Vasily Dmitriyevich) might have represented an issue in the name of both Vasily Dmitriyevich and of Vasily Vasiliyevich.