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PCI2011 Round2.OtherPreciousMetals.A


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14 members have voted

  1. 1. Pick your favorite

    • Sylvester's 1/10 oz 2004 Lewis & Clark Stillwater Palladium Bullion
    • Steve D'Ippolito's 1833 3 Rubles Platinum, Russia


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Sylvester's 1/10 oz 2004 Lewis & Clark Stillwater Palladium Bullion

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Steve D'Ippolito's 1833 3 Rubles Platinum, Russia

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This is a worn, bent example of the Russian 3 ruble platinum piece issued from 1828-1845. It has also been knifed (possibly for acid testing) twice, forming an X on the obverse. Platinum first came to the attention of European science in what is now Colombia; it showed up as nuggets mixed in with gold in panning on the Rio del Pinto. It was not regarded as valuable; in fact it was a nuisance because the panners had to painstakingly sort the nuggets. When platinum nuggets were noticed near the Urals in Russia, peasants would actually use them as shot in their shotguns. (Imagine blowing 1/4 or even 1/2 ounce of platinum nuggets out the muzzle of a shotgun!) Anyhow, Russia faced an annoying situation in the late 1820s--they had both paper and silver coinage in circulation but they did not trade at par (four paper rubles made a silver ruble). Enter the platinum coinage.

These coins were issued by Russia as an extension of the silver coinage (note the value reads 3 Rubles "in Silver"). Not coincidentally, the platinum mines were owned by the politically powerful Demidov family. The three ruble piece did circulate to a very limited extent, as seen with this very coin. The Russians introduced a 6 ruble piece the next year and a 12 the year after that; these did not circulate. There is also a lot of fascinating information on how the coins were made but I'd probably exceeded people's tolerance for coin trivia by now. The 3 ruble piece stands as the only platinum coinage ever issued with the intent of circulating, that actually did so.

 

 

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