This week we are going to continue telling you about characteristics and curiosities of the circulating coins of a country, as we already did with the coins of: Germany, Malta, Finland or Singapore.
This time we will talk about the coins minted by the biggest country in the world, and the ninth more populated, with 146 million inhabitants. We are talking of the great Russian Federation.
The Russian Mint house is one of the most active mint houses in the world, both in terms of circulating coins and commemorative ones. Every year will release new editions and collections of its coins, something that is attracting the interest of the collectors from all over the world
The Ruble, the Russian Coin
The Ruble is one of the current coins with most history, suffering countless modifications along the years.
Ruble origins go back more than 500 years. The first Russian Ruble was a piece of silver with a weight of 200 grams place in circulation in the XIII century. This metal was distributed in different forms, in bars, ribs, etc., that used to be cut in order to obtain smaller pieces (that’s where the word “ruble” comes from, from the verb rubit, which means “cortar”) and after some time they ended up becoming minted pieces.
It was with Peter the Great, in 1704, when finally original rubles were finally minted in Russia for the first time. But along with the coin the falsification started and all kind of efforts were made in order to prevent it. In the XVII century giant brass roubles were produced, of 7.5 cms of diameter and 3.5 of thickness, weighing one kilo. This rare coin, that was not used much, was sold on an auction for the last time in 2003 with a price of 80,000 dollars.
Another curiosity that we should point out are the platine mints that were made in 1828. The platine has just been discovered in miras in the Ural Mountains and in those moments their properties were unknown so it was considered less valued than gold or silver.
The next big transformation of the coin raised up with the appearance of the Soviet Ruble, introduced by the socialist government was a preliminary mint based in the Ruble previous to the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the monetary union of the Soviet Union between 1919 and 1991. However it suffered six big modifications and devaluations as a consequence of the Russian Revolution, the Second World War and the subsequent period of Cold War.
In 1993 a new set of changes were made, that, along with the issue of new bills, put an end to the soviet models, which meant the establishment of a contemporary monetary system and the appearance of the Russian Ruble. However, in this system the ruble was much more cheaper even than in soviet times. In 1996, even the most poor people would count their money in thousands and millions of rubles: the tram ticket was about 1000 rubles, a newspaper 800. Along the 90’s, russians started to call the ruble derevyannyi, “the one made of wood”, which meant that, contrary to the old valuable gold made rubles from the pre-revolutionary era, the contemporary ruble was not worth more than a piece of wood.
In order to solve these problems, in 1998 the latest modification on the coin was made. Due to the low value that it had acquired an important revalorization was made, so a new ruble from 1998 was equivalent to 1000 units of the old coin. Along with this revalorization new coins and bills were issued and those are the ones that are used today.
The Rouble is the legal currency of the Russian Federation. It is currently circulating in the form of bills of 5 (almost disappeared), 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 rubles; and in the form of coins of 1, 2, 5 and 10 The kopek is the fraction of a ruble (a hundredth part of it) and circulates in coins of 1, 5, 10 and 50 kopeks. This values are in circulation since January of 1999.
The actual design of the ruble coins represent the emblem of the Russian Bank, a double-headed eagle, while in the kopeks coins Saint George is represented killing the dragon with a lance (shield of the city of Moscow), the same as the first minted ruble coins.
The reverse of the coins who the denomination written in cyrillic, the mint date and the facial value of the coins appears in arabic numbering, so you won’t need to use our guide to identify dates in this case.
The cost of producing 1 kopek coin its around 47 kopeks, and around the 69 kopeks in the case of the 5 kopeks coin. Actually the only worthwhile coins are the ones of 5 and 10 rubles.
The 1 and 5 kopeks coins are rarely used and along the end of 2012 the Russian Bank stopped minting those coins because there was no demand by the banks and stores. However they are still legal circulating coins and it will be the state the one deciding on the end of its mintage or circulation.
New coin of 1 Ruble
On top of these circulating coins, last year 2014 Russia minted a new coin of 1 Ruble, in order to show the new symbol with which the Rouble is identified in the international markets.
This new iconography was selected by more than 280,000 citizens through a poll organized by the Russian Bank. It were five proposal available for the poll, being the winning symbol, with the 61% of the votes, the one that represents the cyrillic letter ‘P’ (that represent the “ar” sound of the latin alphabet) traversed by an horizontal stripe in its inferior part.
During 2014 100 million coins with this new symbol where minted.
In the war of spectacular coins mintage, Russia has not wanted to be left behind. We already talked about the bullion coins and how Australia has the world record with the mintage of the world most expensive coin, with a weight of 1000 kilos!!
The russian mint house has been a little bit more modest and has minted a serie of coins of 3 kilograms of gold. Currently 4 of this coins has been issued, made with 999 thousands gold, with a diameter of a hundred and twenty millimeters and an edition of only fifty pieces.
However, we don’t think that its reduced number of pieces is the biggest handicap to obtain them, but the fact that they are only in the range of the most wealthy pockets of the coin collecting world. Therefore, only taking into account the current value of gold, each of these coin would have a price of more than 100,000 dollars.
You can find more information about all the mints in the official Russian Bank website: http://www.cbr.ru/eng/