Russian Imperial Gold Coin

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The Russian Imperial is a moniker for the gold ruble or rouble minted during the Czarist period of Russia. As its name suggests, it was a coinage which was expressly minted during the height of Czarist rule and represented the power and authority of the Russian Empire within Russia itself, as well as its neighboring territories. Based originally on the Russian ruble, the Russian Imperial coin is marked by its ornate depiction of the Czarist coat of arms on the reverse of the coin. Highly sought after by collectors and bullion investors alike due to its rarity and historical value, the Russian Imperial gold coin is one of the last gold coins to ever be minted under monarchical rule prior to the rise of Communism in the Russian states.

The first types of Imperial Russian gold coins began mintage sometime during the early 1700s, with some early examples traceable to as far back as the 1750s. These early coins already bore the trademarks of modern coinage such as mintmarks and minter’s symbols alongside the busts or profiles of current rulers as well as any other heraldic device signifying it as a coin of the realm. The features of the earliest Imperial gold coins (by such time they were already referred to as rubles, and were further divided into kopecks. The value of these early Imperial gold coins were usually set into both rubles and kopecks, although later on these became separate, albeit interchangeable currencies. Some Imperial Russian coinage was not even made of gold, but silver – although the more notable coins have been minted from 0.917 gold; a standard which has remained a constant even until the latter days of their production.

The earliest designs of Russian Imperial gold coins featured stylized equilateral crosses on the obverse, or plain equal-armed squared crosses common in any Christian coinage of the time. Later on, these designs were replaced with a more monarchical design featuring the coat of arms of the Russian Empire depicting the double eagle and the full regalia of the Russian heraldic devices on the obverse side of the coin. Prior to this revamp, many gold Imperials featured designs such as heraldic crosses and even magical squares featuring anagrams or the coin’s denomination stylized in Cyrillic within the squares itself. Due to the sheer number of various Imperials minted from the early 1600s (where the first prototype made from silver was created), until the latter part of the 1800s until its eventual demise after the fall of Czarist Russia, many Imperial gold coins possess a variety of different designs depending on the date or year of mintage; with some even sporting twins – similar coins of equal face value minted in silver.

By the latter part of the 1800s until the early 1910s, the production of Russian Imperials underwent a decline which coincided with the slow and eventual fall of the Russian Empire. Some of the latter examples of gold Imperials minted during these years are the most sought-after by collectors, as many examples of these coins were lost or hoarded and melted down into gold ingots or remade into jewelry by fleeing Russian aristocrats during the demise of Czarist rule. While numismatists have an eye for Russian Imperials due to their relative obscurity and rarity, bullion investors seek out Imperials and other types of Russian gold coin due to their gold content of a near-pure quality.

Content researched and created by Alexander Leonhart for ©

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