Russian Gold Rubles
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The Russian gold ruble are two specific types of Russian gold coinage minted prior to the fall of the Czarist rule, and another after the abolishment of the Czarist aristocracy and the instatement of the Soviet Constitution. The earliest types of gold rubles were referred to as ‘imperials’ owing to the fact that they were minted during the Imperial Period of Russia, where it was still under Czarist rule. The earliest imperial gold coins were minted in the middle of the 1700s, but the ‘official’ date of origin for imperial rubles dates to around 1897. By around that time, the gold imperial ruble was divided into denominations of 5, 10, 15, 50, and 100 imperial rubles. By then, the 500 and 1000 denominations were not yet created in coin form, but they were created as prototype banknotes that saw little use despite its common circulation. The imperial rubles became the common currency of the aristocracy, as it too circulated with lesser types of currency – the original rubles of past decades – made of silver instead of the more precious gold. These coins were made of .918 mm of pure gold, with some examples usually alloyed with minute amounts of copper to help harden the coin and prevent it’s easily being worn down. Depicting both past and current Czars of Russia, a number of imperial rubles were minted each with their own designs until standardization on the aesthetics of the imperial gold coin was established by the early 1890s.
Their use was not limited to the ruling classes, but due to the existence of coins of a baser mintage, they soon became an exclusive and rarely seen coin for individuals on the lowest rung of society, albeit being a common and much-valued type of coinage for the aristocracy, the gentry, and the middle classes of the period. The 1897 rubles that are more well-known and sought after by collectors and bullion investors was the last series to ever be minted under Czarist rule. Depicting the Czar Nicholas II on the obverse, and the coat of arms of the Russian Empire on the reverse side of the coin, it remains one of the most sought-after Russian gold coins owing to its purity and rarity. Despite its relatively small size (about the size of a dime), it nevertheless is one of the most beautiful, if short-lived gold coins ever minted. After the fall of Czarist Russia and the murder of Czar Nicholas and his entire family on the 16th of July 1918, many Russian aristocrats fled the now crumbling empire that soon fell under Communist rule, taking with them whatever fortune in gold, jewels, silver, plate, and bullion that they could carry. Because of this, Czar Nicholas imperial rubles are rare and highly valued by numismatic collectors.
After the instatement of Soviet Rule, a new type of ruble was introduced. Along with the introduction a new type of coinage, there came a devaluation of the old currency in favor of the new ones. Several reforms and redenominations were performed, and many types of rubles were created but it was the fourth ruble reform of 1924-1947 that reintroduced gold coinage to what was then the Soviet Russian State. Worth 50, 000 third-reform rubles, it was made to cement the old and the new, as it was linked not only to the then already defunct Russian Empire, but to an earlier form of gold currency known as the chevronet. This new Soviet ruble was only slightly larger than the gold imperial ruble, but instead of the coat of arms of the Czar, a new set ‘nationalistic’ insignias replaced the former imperial heraldic bearings. Nowadays, both Soviet and Imperial rubles are still being produced albeit in a purer state, for the purpose of commemorative collectibles and bullion investment.
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Content researched and created by Alexander Leonhart for coinandbullionpages.com © coinandbullionpages.com 2012
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