NEW YORK – The ruble is one of Europe’s oldest currencies, dating back 800 years. The basic monetary unit of Russia, the ruble equal to 100 kopeks. The currency derives its namesake from the Russian word “rubit,” which means to chop or hack, and originally was made from fragmented pieces of silver wire. The attractive appearance, rarity and high commercial value make Russian coins popular among numismatic collectors. More than 200 lots of antique coins from the Russian Empire are offered in a Jasper52 online auction that will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
Founded in the 12th century, the principality of Muscovy, emerged from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under Peter I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire.
The Romanov Dynasty ended with the overthrow of the imperial household in 1917 and the Russian Revolution.
The empire’s last Czar, Nicholas II, is pictured on an 1896 25 kopeks coin (above), which is expected to sell $350-$400. The coin was minted eight years before Russia’s defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, which contributed to the Revolution of 1905 that resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms.
Also minted during Nicholas II’s reign is an 1899 one-fourth kopek coin (below; est. $150-$200).
A ruble minted in 1883 commemorates the coronation of Czar Alexander III, Nicholas II’s father. This silver coin has a $1,100-$1,500 estimate.
A denga was a Russian monetary unit with a value equal to one-half kopek (100 kopeks equals one Russian ruble). During parts of the 19th century the name of this coin was replaced by the word denezhka, the diminutive form of denga. A Russia Pattern denezhka dated 1849 is presented in the Jasper52 auction with an estimate of $2,000-$2,500. That was the year Czar Nicholas I aided Austria in quelling an uprising in Hungary.
The coin having the highest value in the auction is an 1849 silver ruble (est. $3,500-$4,000).
Meanwhile, an 1847 five kopeks silver coin during the reign of Nicholas I has a $600-$700 estimate.
The Jasper52 auction of antique Russian coins will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 9 p.m. Eastern time.