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Russian Gold: Alexander III 10 Roubles


michael311
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Hello everybody

 

The other day I posted a question expressing my doubts about the 1894 gold 10-rouble coin. What was bugging me was that despite the official mintage figure of 1007, as quoted in Severin, the coin appears to be considerably less scarce than the other Alexander dates (1886-93). I asked for expert opinions but my enquiry drew a blank. Perhaps, I posted it on the wrong forum. Or perhaps, the question was deemed daft and simply didn't warrant an answer. Or could it be that there is a general lack of substance in Russian numismatics and nobody really gives a damn?

 

You see, If you collect English gold sovereigns, you can refer to the works of the late Michael Marsh, a real enthusiast of the coin, who did a lot of painstaking research and whose works as a result are still considered the main source or reference. What is so admirable about these sources is that there is a lot of historical background and that one can see a correlation between his rating of individual dates and denominations in terms of their scarcity or rarity and the market prices they still command today.

 

I appreciate that the history of Russia is very different from that of Britain and that, especially in the 20th century, Russia experienced upheavals and calamities on an almost unprecedented scale and that Severin did a very good job when he simply quoted the official mintage figures providing a modicum of comment and background. After all, his book was put together in the late 50s and how could he find out how many coins had survived all the upheavals and how many had been melted? And yet, one would expect that 50 years on, with more information coming to light, e.g. the Norwegian hoard in Canadian banks, there may have been serious attempts made to do more research in this area of Russian numismatics. Has anybody got any knowledge of any such sources? I've tried asking Russian dealers one comes across at the fairs these days but they seem to be none the wiser and simply couldn't be bothered. Nor was I able to find anything of substance on staraya-moneta.

 

Coming back to the 1894 10-rouble gold coin, I could only speculate why its market value according to Konross 2010 is the lowest of all the dates (1886-94), despite the fact that with the 1893 date it has the lowest mintage figure. It's either that there are a lot of forgeries around, old or more recent ones, or that the Soviet government used the dies to strike more coins after 1917. Does anybody know if there is any evidence to support the latter assumption? By the way, there is a big discrepancy between the Konross figure and the figure in the Standard Catalogue of Modern World Gold Coins for 2010, which takes exactly the opposite view and quotes the highest value for the 1894 date in all grades!!!

 

In the end, I'd like to say that the Russian numismatics is a fascinating area of numismatics and I do hope that it's not just a preserve of brash dealers descending in their dozens on the European coin fairs with the single purpose of finding bargains which could be re-sold back home at a profit but that there people who stop to think about curious abnormalities similar to the one I tried to bring up here.

 

I would appreciate any feedback.

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Hello and welcome to Coinpeople,

 

Just like in English coins, there are plenty of references in Russian numismatics. And we happened to have one of the authorities on the subject as a member of this forum - Bob Julian.

I will refer to Bob's book in my response (even though the book is on silver coins). Few things to know - there is a difference between calendar year and fiscal year. After 1877 Russian mint statistics reflected fiscal year. I do not remember for sure, but I think for St. Petersburg mint it was September to September (correct me if I am wrong). Also, 1894 is a year known for this issue. Silver roubles show 3007 minted, but this rouble is pretty common, just like 10 roubles. For the roubles we know that 1895 mintage shows million+, but for 10 roubles 1895 mintage is unknown.

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Thanks a lot, Igor.

 

A very good explanation. This probability didn't even occur to me because I've never seen any reference to Russian gold coins between 1894 and 1897, when the new coinage was introduced by Witte. But your analogy with the silver rouble is very applicable.

 

I'll have a look if I can find the book you're referring to. It definitely sounds very interesting.

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There were some 5 and 10 ruble pieces minted with nicholas's portrait in 1895-97 on the old standard, but they are extremely rare today and they are considered trial pieces. I believe they were denominated in "imperials" (10 rubles). Interestingly after the change when the 15 ruble piece was the weight of the 10 ruble piece, _that_ was called the imperial (in other words the weight of an imperial didn't change).

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