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Coinyoshi's Blog

03 Aug 2021

Coins of Great Empires: Russia

Coins-World | Coinyoshi

The Russian Empire was very powerful. At one point, it owned about 1/8 of the world. I have been fascinated by the empire for a long time, and I am writing this to tell you some of the story through coins. Here we go. (My Russian skills are not good, so do not trust my translations 100%)


Russian coins really start with Ivan the Terrible. He introduced the first official Russian monetary system. The minting technique for these coins came from the 14th century. The metal was rolled into, well, a roll and sliced into equal sections that weighed the same. This resulted in small, oval-shaped, disks very similar in weight. The coins were struck by being placed between two dies. The upper die was hammered, and you had the coin. The obverse showed a man on a horse (likely Ivan) and the reverse showed Russian words that I can't understand.


Piotr I (Peter the Great) was truly great. Besides westernizing Russia and being a great war hero, he was the first ruler to introduce the decimal coinage system (100 cents to a dollar, ect.). He kept on using the ruble that Ivan used, but the new system would be used in Russia (and the world) for centuries. Peter was the first tsar to have coins struck by machinery. He wanted to use copper kopeks as opposed to the previous silver ones, which made people mad. In 1724, Peter created the Sun Ruble, what I call the dollar coin of Peter's Russia. On the obverse of the said sun ruble is Peter surrounded by Russian words. The ones I can recognize mean 'Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia' (I think). On the reverse is the date, four crowns on a cross, and four Russian words.


Catherine the Great was another Russian ruler who influenced Russian coins. She doubled the face value of the copper Kopeks and reduced the fineness of the silver coins. Later, she experimented with copper rubles, and they had to be huge to make the values equal! Her coins were struck with machinery, like her grandfather's. Surprisingly, very few of her coins had her portrait on it. It usually had the Romanov double eagle on the obverse with another design on the reverse.



Nikolai II was the final tsar, and the last one to make an impact on the empire's coins. He switched Russia to the gold standard in 1897, but made no changes to the silver and copper coins. That caused some problems when the St. Petersburg mint started struggling to keep up with the gold coins. So, the Russians decided to talk to France and Belgium for help. Nikolai gave them Russian dies and Russian gold, and they asked them to help. One interesting thing about this is that the coins from Paris had one star on the edge, the coins from Brussels had two stars, and the St. Petersburg coins had none. Many of his coins had Nikolai himself on the obverse with the Romanov eagle on the reverse.


Comments

Kepi

Level 6

Enjoyed your blog! Russian coinage has some cool designs for sure! Great history! ; )

Golfer

Level 5

Russian coins are fantastic. Really some great history. Thanks for a nice blog.

Long Beard

Level 5

Coinage from Russia is in the top five collected world-wide. As for setting a word count for your blogs, it's not the length which matters. It's your passion, what drives you to collect and enjoy.

Coinyoshi

Level 4

Thank you for the advice. I write because that is what I want and feel like doing, but I put a word count on it because it is part of my specific series. Unfortunately, I do not have any Russian coins myself and am looking forward to (possibly) getting some in the YN auction :) also i took the word count out because of your advice. The thing I want is to collect and enjoy coins while providing good information for people.

CheerioCoins

Level 5

Nice! Good job lots of great information!

Longstrider

Level 6

Nice blog. I learned from you. Try this site for your coin translations: https://en.numista.com/ Thanks.

Mike

Level 7

I enjoyed it . A good read. Great reserch. I might read it again!!!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Hmmmm Ivan gave the Ruskies coins.... Guess he wasn't so terrible after all! Thanks for a very interesting blog. I enjoy these coins

Coinyoshi

Level 4

Did you know that Ivan's nickname "The Terrible" comes from a mix-up between Russian dialects. In standard Russian, Grozhny means feared by all, but in the Belarusian dialect, it means terrible. So, someone that spoke the Belarusian dialect may have heard that Ivan was terrible, but that person said he was really feared by all (although those were both very true!)

"SUN"

Level 6

Enjoyed the history lesson.

Coinyoshi

Level 4

Not all of the czars that influenced Russian coins are here... Also, bibliography https://forgeofempiressite.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/russian-coins-800-years-of-history/ https://en.numista.com/forum/topic44228.html A catalog of Modern World Coins by R.S Yeoman

Coinyoshi

Level 4

Hope you like it!

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