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Russian Coins

Russian coins originated with a system called the grivna, a mostly silver standard that was used for nearly five centuries in western Russia and eastern Europe. The term applied more to ingots than to coins, although some coins entered the region through trade. The modern Russian coinage system, the ruble, derived from the grivna: rubles, from the Russian verb "to chop," were originally cut away from ingots to pay for smaller amounts. Rubles became the official currency of Russia in 1704 when Peter the Great reordered monetary standards.

There is a very interesting and rare type of ruble that was minted during an interregnum period in 1825 known as the Constantine ruble. The existence of these coins was classified as a state secret in Russia until 1886 and only eight are confirmed to still exist. There also exists a high-quality reproduction called the Trubetskoy ruble, which was created in the 1860s. Trubetskoy rubles are considered highly rare and desirable despite being forgeries. Only three are known to exist today.

In Soviet Russia, the ruble experienced a strange fate for a currency: it became a non currency, more resembling food stamps than an actual market currency. This was due to the nature of the Soviet Union's planned economy, where only a small range of goods could be purchased at prices set by the government. Because of this, rubles could not be exchanged on the foreign market and were illegal to export. The ruble survived the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, and today's ruble coins possess interesting features like bimetallic issues and holographic windows.


Quick Facts

  • The ruble was the first decimal-based system of currency in the world. It has survived to the present day through multiple revolutions and governmental reorganizations
  • A 1740-pattern silver ruble sold at auction for just under $4 million in 2012. It holds the record for the fifth most expensive coin ever sold, minted during the brief one-year reign of the child emperor Ivan VI
  • The Catherine the Great Sestroretsk ruble minted in 1771 is the largest coin ever made out of solid copper. It is larger in circumference and thickness than a regulation hockey puck

Recommended Items at Auction

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Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
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Sellers Who Sell Russian Coins


Millon Riviera

Millon Riviera

McCurley Auction Company

McCurley Auction Company

Eternity Gallery

Eternity Gallery

Key Date Coins

Key Date Coins