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Bobh's article on the 1913 Tercentenary Rouble


STEVE MOULDING
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Bob, I' ve just read your article in JRNS84 on the 1913 Tercentenary Ruble. A very nice piece and the study of the relative scarcities of the flat versus high relief coins was interesting.

 

I saw that your Conros image data goes back to 2006. I wanted to let you know I have Conros images back to 2002 if you want to pad out the statistics a little more, though I doubt it will change your conclusions (90% of statistical conclusions can be found in the first 10% of a dataset ;) )

The same offer extends if you're planning a study of any other series...I have over 400,000 images of Russian coins from 1700-1917 at this point across many auction houses, though many still need to be sorted.

 

Anyway, well done on a really nice article. :ninja:

 

Steve

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Bob, I' ve just read your article in JRNS84 on the 1913 Tercentenary Ruble. A very nice piece and the study of the relative scarcities of the flat versus high relief coins was interesting.

 

I saw that your Conros image data goes back to 2006. I wanted to let you know I have Conros images back to 2002 if you want to pad out the statistics a little more, though I doubt it will change your conclusions (90% of statistical conclusions can be found in the first 10% of a dataset ;) )

The same offer extends if you're planning a study of any other series...I have over 400,000 images of Russian coins from 1700-1917 at this point across many auction houses, though many still need to be sorted.

 

Anyway, well done on a really nice article. :ninja:

 

Steve

Thanks very much, Steve! ;)

 

Of course, most of the better ideas come along after the article has already been in print for a month or so... ;) But I've now come to the conclusion that the error was simply due to the omission of one trailing zero in the mint report(s) which was then taken over by subsequent writings. If we take the relative percentages observed, we see that approx. 30% of the coins offered are of the flat variety and 70% raised (i.e., embossed striking). This would correspond nicely to mintage numbers of 500,000 and 1,000,000 respectively -- not 50,000 and 1,450,000. It is really the most logical explanation, and so simple. I wonder if anyone has any information which might speak against this theory?

 

As to the coin image database, it might be a good idea to co-ordinate the database setups we have ... as for the Romanov rouble images, at present I am keeping them in a simple file system directory structure which is linked to the coin ID's by a naming scheme. The database could be employed on any ANSI SQL relational database system. If we could standardize it, then it would be possible for many people to conduct such surveys independently of each other and later coalesce the data into one big database. But this is probably better done outside the forum via e-mail, since most folks here probably aren't too interested in the nitty-gritty of database systems. ;)

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I do remember that in its early days the RNS made a concerted effort to collect images and put them into just such a database (on a VAX if I recall correctly). Some articles in the earlier Journals talked about the project, its setup, and its progress.

I wonder what ever happened to all of those images. This would be before the days of jpg formats and CD storage, so unless we can restore from VAX tapes (even if we had them) I suspect that particular database is gone forever :ninja:

Still, it will be interesting to go back to the old Journals and read some of the issues that they came upon and how they solved them.

 

Steve

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Steve, 400,000 images of just some 217 years of Russian coins? ;) I can only imagine how rich that source is. As a side joke I would be humbled if mine ever gets in there ;) And VAX system... never heard of them. Was when that last used? 70s? :ninja: Shows that I'm born in the wrong era ;)

 

As my database is awfully small compared to anyone here, (just a mere 1.68gb) I only use simple windows file directory and catagorize them by years and then mintmark. In some cases, I just lump them in one group directory, i.e. all the Nicholai II silver 10 kopeks in one directory, 15 kopeks in another etc. I can only imagine the benefits of a SQL database if there is large source of data to even begin in the first place.

 

Now back to the topic, Bob just one question. Wouldn't 500,000 coins be a bit way too much when the mintmaster decided to change the relief? Now I'm talking without the absense of any proper statistic figures but what has been bothering me is the popularity of the commemorative coins back in those days. Mind you, from the way I see the low mintage figures of the early commemorative rubles, it seems that St. Petersburg mint was at a bitter situation where they wished that they could produce more, except the difference was that it wasn't available at face value if I read it right. Most of them were available at a nominal fee.

 

The approximate early mintage of the commemorative rubles are:

(I'm excluding the family ruble and the marriage "ruble" )

 

1834 - <20,000

1839 - 1 ruble <20,000 (out of 160,000), 1.5 ruble <6,000

1859 - 50,000

1883 - 280,000

1896 - 190,000

1898 - <5,000 ?

1912 - Alexander III throne - <2,000 ?

1912 - Patriotic war - 26,500

1913 - ?

 

Now assuming that if we didn't have the 1.5 million figure, would you think that St. Petersburg mint actually dared to mint so much coins for that particular year? I don't quite think so - and if I was the mint master, I would fear to actually strike that much to see a major loss! Even with the highest mintage figure of the 1883 coronation of Alexander III ruble, it is just at 280,000 instead of the massive 1.5 million which I see as a bizarre figure. I still find that figure quite interesting.

 

Instead what I think is, initially some 50,000 of them were struck with the low relief die for "ordering purposes" and then because of the popularity of the tsar, the public must have wanted more which perhaps a fair amount of coins continued to be struck with the low relief till the die broke and a new die was designed, just like the story of the family ruble.

 

Just as a side note, my Romanov ruble that I bought at scrap silver value is a high relief.

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And VAX system... never heard of them. Was when that last used? 70s? :ninja: Shows that I'm born in the wrong era ;)

Last time I used a VAX was in 1992; not so long ago really. By the 90s they'd shrunk from big room-size tape-spinning behemoths to something that would fit on your desk...I think it was called a microVAX. The PC however soon put an end to all that.

 

Steve

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[some snipped ...>8...]

Now back to the topic, Bob just one question. Wouldn't 500,000 coins be a bit way too much when the mintmaster decided to change the relief? Now I'm talking without the absense of any proper statistic figures but what has been bothering me is the popularity of the commemorative coins back in those days. Mind you, from the way I see the low mintage figures of the early commemorative rubles, it seems that St. Petersburg mint was at a bitter situation where they wished that they could produce more, except the difference was that it wasn't available at face value if I read it right. Most of them were available at a nominal fee.

Of course, you are correct that all other commemorative roubles were struck in much lesser quantities. I can't be 100% sure without reading the original text of the "Ukaz" by Nicholas II, but judging from the very low mintage numbers of the business strike 1913 rouble, one can only assume that this commemorative rouble was designed to circulate in masses ... presumably to become the most "popular" of all the commemorative roubles struck to date. And if this rouble were designed to circulate, it is not possible that any additional fee would have been charged by the banks to put it into circulation.

 

The approximate early mintage of the commemorative rubles are:

(I'm excluding the family ruble and the marriage "ruble" )

 

1834 - <20,000

1839 - 1 ruble <20,000 (out of 160,000), 1.5 ruble <6,000

1859 - 50,000

1883 - 280,000

1896 - 190,000

1898 - <5,000 ?

1912 - Alexander III throne - <2,000 ?

1912 - Patriotic war - 26,500

1913 - ?

 

Now assuming that if we didn't have the 1.5 million figure, would you think that St. Petersburg mint actually dared to mint so much coins for that particular year? I don't quite think so - and if I was the mint master, I would fear to actually strike that much to see a major loss! Even with the highest mintage figure of the 1883 coronation of Alexander III ruble, it is just at 280,000 instead of the massive 1.5 million which I see as a bizarre figure. I still find that figure quite interesting.

It is very interesting. In fact, I think we can agree that this is the first time ever in Russian numismatic history that the issue of a commemorative coin actually exceeded that of the regular issue for any particular year! But the mint operated solely on assignment from the treasury which granted them a certain amount of silver ... and the Tsar was the one who actually determined how much silver for that issue was to be struck!

 

Instead what I think is, initially some 50,000 of them were struck with the low relief die for "ordering purposes" and then because of the popularity of the tsar, the public must have wanted more which perhaps a fair amount of coins continued to be struck with the low relief till the die broke and a new die was designed, just like the story of the family ruble.

 

Just as a side note, my Romanov ruble that I bought at scrap silver value is a high relief.

It would be very nice if this were still possible (i.e., to buy ANY Russian coins in collectible condition at scrap metal prices!) :ninja:

 

As to your theory, it would be plausible if it were not for the mint reports (we know of one Russian report and one USA report which was issued more or less at the same time, and which Severin used as the basis of his book regarding this 1913 commemorative rouble) ... Assuming that the mint report would have been written after the initial striking of 50,000, but before the re-ordering of additional coins, we should not see the total of 1,500,000 as stated by the existing reports. If the report were written after the striking had completed, one would expect the mintage numbers of both issues added together to reflect the total amount of silver struck. This grand total figure, reflecting the amount of silver available for striking, would have been much more important at the time to verify, not so much how many of which die had been struck. I think we are lucky to have any differentiated figures at all, even if they might be off by a factor of 10.

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