World_Coin_Nut's Blog

10 Mar 2023

Jefimok Ruble’s and The Monetary Reform of Alexios I

Coins - World | World_Coin_Nut

This is for Mike. I realized that I haven't been here in a while and he mentioned that he missed reading about my thalers. This coin started its life as a thaler and then was turned into a Russian coin by adding a couple of countermarks.I recently posted this on another site but wanted to make sure I shared it here as well. This is a case where the pictures don't do it justice. I am pleased with the coin.I recently made a purchase that required me to do a bit of research. I like it when that happens. As many of you know, I have a thing for Wildman thalers. At this point I have a relatively significant collection of them, and it has become difficult to find new pieces to add to my collection.Technically, the coin I purchased would be considered a Russian coin. The countermarked coins described below are scarce on their own. I had come across them on several occasions, but I never got the “buy me now” vibe from any of them. That is, until I found one counter stamped on a Wildman thaler.Adapted from “La Reforma Monetaria de Alexei Mikhailovich” by Federico de AnsóMichael Feodorovich (1613-1645) was the initiator of the last Romanov dynasty that would reign in the Russian Empire until the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 brought a tragic end to the imperial family through the execution of Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their children in Yekaterinburg on 07/16/1918.From a very young age, Alexios had the training and influence of the boyar Boris Morózov, a shrewd politician who was his mentor. During his reign (1645 - 1676) it was up to this monarch to carry out several important reforms, legislative, monetary and a no less controversial religious one.In the legislative and social sphere, he promoted the reform that the National Assembly adopted a new legal body in 1649 and that would last two centuries, whose main characteristic was the establishment of the definitive servitude of the Russian peasantry. Regarding monetary matters, let us remember that since the second half of the 14th century in the Duchy of Moscow, a small silver coin called denga was minted, coming from silver rails stamped with the seal of the reigning prince.In English they are known as wire money. (picture 1) The metal was obtained from the foundry of European talers of various origins, from which the Treasury obtained a yield of 20 to 30%.Originally, the denga was legally equivalent to 1/200 of a 204-gram silver bar, that is, half a Russian ruble. Therefore, its legal weight was 1.02 grams of silver. But like so many other currencies, it suffered successive devaluations and revaluations. Thus, around 1430 its weight was 0.78 grams, and in 1434 it reached 0.94 grams to fall in 1455 to just 0.425 grams. In 1500 it went to a weight of 0.39 grams and in 1534 it reached 0.34 grams since the size was then 600 pieces per bar.In 1535 an important revaluation took place, bringing the denga to double its previous weight, that is, to 0.68 grams and a size of 300 per bar. Likewise, the image of a warrior mounted with a spear was stamped on its obverse, so this new coin was renamed kopeck and its half continued to be called denga.Being the ruble equivalent to 200 dengas and this, at half a kopeck, the ruble was then valued at 100 kopecks. Resulting in the ruble then, as Mitchell points out, the first monetary unit divided into one hundred parts.Michael's successor was his son Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov (1629 -1676).A first attempt consisted of minting coins of high nominal value, but Russia did not have, at that time, the necessary technology for this. Therefore, they began by countermarking various European talers.The first decision was made in 1654 to put into circulation the old silver kopecks and additionally to circulate devalued rubles through the countermark of thalers introduced by foreign merchants from the Baltic trade at the end of the Hanseatic League. After obliterating their original designs, the so-called "Yefimki" were stamped on all types of European currency such as rijksdalder, philipsdalder, speciedaler, patagones, lionsdaler, etc.Here's a better view of the counter mark. Looks a lot like the later wire money. (picture 3)Usually, two and even three countermarks were stamped on those crown-sized European species. One of the stamps showed the image of the tsar on horseback with a spear, which personifies Saint George spearing the dragon. The other sign corresponds to the year of issue. 1655 is by far the most common date.You can find these counter stamps on a wide variety of European coinage. Almost always it is found on crown sized coins. Frequently the counter stamping process would result in cracked or otherwise damaged coins. This is not the most visually appealing coin but most of them aren't. I'm quite happy with this purchase.

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