Photos were being difficult to upload so hereâ€™s a link to them instead https://imgur.com/a/oaXt9fK
Russian Wire coins are silver Denga (1/2 kopek) , polushka (1/4 kopek) and 1 kopek pieces. They were hand-struck on long, thin wires and the cut with shears. This I where they get their oblong shape. Most of these are off-center, softly struck, and missing an incredible amount of the design.
Early into January, just before Christmas for the Russians, I received a picture of thousands of wire coins a metal detector had uncovered in Smolensk. I was able to purchase the lot, and boy am I happy. If you are familiar to Russian laws on metal detecting and exporting said finds, it is quite a miracle these were acquirable. I paid quite a bit over what I am used to paying for these, but after seeing the condition from the first batch- it was worth it. Virtually all of these are well centered on both sides and well struck. There is a healthy mix of kopeks and Denga of Ivan IV (1533-1584).
Smolensk is an extremely old establishment in Russia dating back to the 9th century. Its location on the Dnieper river and relativity to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Ottoman Empire , and the Ukrainian Cossacks, Smolensk was an incredibly rich crossroads for nations. When war broke out between the Poles and Russians in the early 17th century, the highly defended city was a huge target. The city's large walls (some of the largest known to Russia at that time) were besieged 3 times including a 20 month-long siege from 1609-1611 that eventually crushed the fortress. It was once again attacked in 1612 and 1617.
I'll be selling these online and at shows. It'll be sad to see all of these go, but I did keep quite a few for myself.
Ref. Great Russian turmoil: causes and exit from the state crisis in the XVI-XVII centuries