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Please feel free to add your own grivenniks to this post. The more the merrier.


The term grivennik could stand some explanation. When Peter I reformed the Russian coinage, setting it on the basis of 100 kopeks = 1 ruble, he used this term (which as near as I can tell had not been used in non-Ukrainian parts of Russia before) for the 10 kopek piece (which had never been minted before). (See my explanation in the Peter I part of this virtual museum, in the post on small silver coinage.). "Grivna" or "Grivennik" apparently comes from the Ukrainian term for the medieval silver ingots that Russians called "rubles". The Ukrainians use this term to this day for their currency, now that they are independent; however they pronounce the Г as "H" so English transliterations of the term will be something like "Hryvnia"



Disclaimer: I have sold this coin.


1783 10 Kopeks:




Obverse inscription BM (By the grace of god) Ekaterina II, Emp[ress] and Autocrat of All Russ[ia]. Mintmark SPB (St. Petersburg)


Reverse "grivnennik" (10 Kopeks) and date


EDIT: Added translation and other info.

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очень довольно... очень мило

Ochen' dobol'no ... ochen' milo

Very pretty ... very nice...


But without Babelfish, I cannot do much with the inscriptions except to recognize B. M. (Bolshoi Monarch or like that?) Ekaterina II Imp <isamod = blah> <vsy = blah> ROS (= Russia). The three characters on the bottom are the mintmark спб = SPB? (Ah! St. Petersburg! Of course...) On the reverse, what is a GRIVEN NIK'?


You know... just asking because I see now that this is the Special Forums/Russian Forum/Russian Museum. So anyone interested probably knows the basics. But I clicked in from the Homepage where it was a Recent Topic. So, there is sort of a general attraction to the curious.

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Yes, I assumed too much knowledge for a general audience. You have quite a leg up, Michael because you apparently can read the alphabet, but that doesn't help if the denominations are obscure--and in the 18th century numbers were spelled out more often than not. (You might know the numbers too). I suppose in future I should translate the inscriptions. (I can go back and do edits, at least in the virtual museum.)


БМ = "By the Grace Of God"


Grivennik (one word split across two lines) ultimately comes from a word "grivna" describing silver ingots, Peter I adopted it as a term for 10 kopeks; so you can think of it as the Russian equivalent of "dime". I don't believe the term was used--at least on the coins themselves--after Catherine II.


Furthermore, Ukraine basically took the term and used it for their own currency, but they pronounce Г as "H" there so it's usually translated "hrivna" or some variation thereof. (It works in reverse, the Russians write "Hitler" as "Гитлер" (or "Гитлерь"?) and pronouce it with a hard "G" but the identical spelling works in Ukraine.)


EDIT: I've now gone back and added a lot of explanatory text on all of the Virtual Museum posts I made late yesterday.

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So, it is about the diameter of a US Dime, but thicker, with the fabric, say, of a Maria Theresa Thaler? Nice coin all in all.


BM for "Grace of God" with Bog/Bozhe for God, right? Myself, I like full transcriptions and translations, but at some level, if the hobby becomes grunt work, it is less fun for everyone.


I know a little Russian from having Ukrainian kids in my neighborhood. To get to my pals on the phone, I learned to speak to the parents, first. At the Cleveland Public Library, the foreign language books were a room about the same as a half-floor here in Ann Arbor. I used to browse the stacks and read the titles in all the languages. "HUXLEY: SZEP UJ VILAG" three words; Aldous Huxley; famous book. Fill in the blank.


I had a ton of German from college summer school in junior high through university. At the College of Charleston, my first prof had the regional accent and prefered not to speak German, so we did philology. Grivennik becoming Hrivenik is a common shift. The Latin CARA becomes the English "whore" -- same idea, different nuance -- CENTUM (kentum) becomes hundred. In Hungarian three is "harom" and in Finnish it is "kolme" again H and K, the aspirant and hard consonant shift.


In Grivennik, I see GRAVE, GRAB, and GRUB. If you allow the V for P or F, then GRIV would be like the Greek "graph." The silver bars might have been poured into a gaven mold or maybe they were stamped (engraved) with a hallmark. In medievel times, the German silver mark came as bars, also. NIK is a diminuitive, of course.


I am always amazed and disappointed when people say, "I found a coin that says CESKOSLOVENSKO where is it from?" How much more obvious could it be? But, you know, in Japanese they say that even the monkey falls from the tree - many a slip twixt the cup and the lip. My brother had more languages than I, French and Russian in addition to German. We were on the phone and drifted into his getting a ticket driving in France with German plates, etc. Later, I said, "CH, what's that for? sCHwyCH?" and he laughed. After we hung up, it hit me: Confederatio Helvetica! I knew that...


Anyway... enough about me... nice coin.

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