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Soviet non-commemorative ruble coins


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I'm trying to hunt down every single year of Soviet non-commemorative coins struck from 1961 to 1991. Turns out this is a lot harder than expected!

 

Here's one example

 

999667.jpg

 

You can normally find 1-20 kopek in junk coin lot. 50k can be a bit tougher but still doable. However this does not apply to 1 ruble non-commemorative coins - I think it's a lot easier to find the entire set of commemorative coins. There was a seller on ebay that broke his set down and this was a rather recent event - probably two months ago or so and the entire set sold for probably more than 200-300 dollars. I couldn't even lay a finger on a single coin!

 

I'm quite curious - I'm sure back in the 1960s - a ruble was worth a lot of money. What can you purchase with a ruble back then? I'm guessing the purchasing power of the ruble would have dropped later in the 80s and 90s but still, I have trouble finding coins from the later era as well.

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They really didn't circulate a lot - there was a ruble note from the treasury that was seen in circulation much more than the coin. I never saw ruble coins in circulation, only 1-50 kopeks. Very occasionally in the last days of the USSR you could get the base metal commemoratives for face value at some banks.

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However this does not apply to 1 ruble non-commemorative coins - I think it's a lot easier to find the entire set of commemorative coins...

1 rouble 1971 now sells in Russia for about $8-$12 in UNC condition.

I'm quite curious - I'm sure back in the 1960s - a ruble was worth a lot of money. What can you purchase with a ruble back then?
In 70's 1 rouble was worth a hearty lunch at worker's canteen.

Ice cream and coffee in cheap cafe was around 50 kopecks.

In a street bar ("ryumochnaya") a shot of vodka (50 ml) plus a small sandwich was, as far as I remember, also 50 kop.

Pack of filter cigarettes was 30 kop.

 

In 1969 when I went to school my parents gave me 15 kopecks for breakfast in a school buffet (tea or cacao plus roll or cheese sandwich).

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They really didn't circulate a lot - there was a ruble note from the treasury that was seen in circulation much more than the coin. I never saw ruble coins in circulation, only 1-50 kopeks.

Maybe situation was different in other parts of USSR, but in Moscow rouble coins - both "ordinary" and "jubilee" (commemorative) were quite common in circulation.

Though they were not popular among both people (as they were rather heavy and inconvenient to carry) and cashiers / sellers (as there were difficulties when cashing them to the bank)... similar as 1 dollar coins are now not popular in the U.S. at all.

So cashiers often tried to get rid of "iron roubles" (as they were called commonly) and give it to you as change, and people normally tried to refuse...

 

1964 roubles were very common, as well as commemoratives of 1965 ("20 years of Victory"), 1967 ("50 years of Soviet power") and 1970 ("100 years of Lenin").

 

1965 and 1966 were also rather common, while other dates of "ordinary" (not commemorative) roubles were rather hard to find in circulation.

 

I started to collect Soviet coins in approx. 1970 (at the age of 8) and could not spend almost any money to buy coins for my collection, so up to 1977 or so all new Soviet coins for my collection came from circulation (at first, mostly from my mother's and granmother's purses :-)).

And even when I started to own some own money, I did not pay 3 or 4 roubles for 1-rouble coins of scarcer dates, preferring to search for them in circulation...

Finally, as far as I remember, I managed to find all but couple (1967, 1970, maybe some other too) 1 rouble coins by year 1979 or 1980 when I put numismatics aside (temporarily) in favour of other, at that time much more pleasant and attractive ways to spend time and money...

 

Also, a 1961 rouble (with plain edge) at first was quite common, but in 70's dissappeared (or was withdrawn) from circulation almost completely...

I remember spending 1 rouble 1961 from my collection in around 1975 (because I was sure it would be very easy to find a new one) but then couldn' find it for long time... so I finally had to buy it... 25 or so years later.

 

Very occasionally in the last days of the USSR you could get the base metal commemoratives for face value at some banks.

Most of commemoratives were easily found in circulation till approx. 1980-1981 (including all the "Olympic" roubles).

I guess, the reason was that it became popular to collect "jubilee" roubles after 1980 Olympic Games.

As far as I remember, the first really hard-to-find commemorative rouble was a "Soviet-Bulgarian Friendship" in 1981.

 

But it is true that in the last years of USSR (1990 or even in 1991) commemorative roubles emerged in large quantities... and at that time their value decreased drastically due to high inflation.

 

As for "ordinary" circulation roubles, they also started to emerge (especially, dated 1980-1991) and were very common in 1991 and even later.

 

Also, as it became known later, after desintegration of USSR, considerable quantities of rouble coins of all previous dates (except 1965) were kept by Central Bank. In 1994 or so Central Bank of Russia (CBR) planned to utilize (melt) them, but some enthusiastic coin dealer managed to save some quantities of those for numismatists, buying them from CBR at a price of scrap metal.

 

So all "common" roubles series of 1961-1991 (except 1965) became very common and affordable for collectors by mid- or end of 90s; and were sold by coin dealers by full sets in UNC condition (though 1965 was usually presented by VF in the set, obviously from circulation).

I bought such a full set in around 2002 or 2003 for 500 roubles (around $15-$17).

 

Since then prices went up, but it is still possible to find a full "common" roubles set for $300 or so.

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Back in the day, collecting was not really considered good social behaviour :evilbanana: but a lot of people did it and keep quite about it. I was collecting the Tsarist coins, but they were hard to find and not too good to show off that you had them.

 

In the USA there are certain areas of collecting that well, you don't talk about much either. :shock:

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Wow, thanks guys, I found this conversation very interesting and informative (now I know why I joined this forum).

I had no idea the coins of Russia could be so interesting to collect.

Mind you, I have yet to hold a russian coin in my hand I have never seen one accept in pics.

 

 

Thanks again everyone, I really enjoyed that.

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I vote Candidate's post to be one of the best posts for this week. Thanks for sharing such interesting information!

 

I guess in today's value, a ruble would be worth about 10 - 15 dollars or so (approximately) - fair amount of money. So Candidate - one last question: When the 3 and 5 ruble commemorative coins started to appear in circulation in 1987, was that a big amount back then or that's signs of inflation and the ruble started to be worth less?

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I can only answer for later on, but 3 and 5 rubles were not a lot of money when the economy was in transition while I was there. It was sort of crazy, food was a fixed price - inexpensive and very affordable, but you had to be able to find it and in quantity. Other things started being priced at market prices like clothing etc, so then became very very expensive. Very soon most people were wiped out of their meager savings - and then after the USSR and new currencies were wiped out again so that people in the know don't keep their money local or in rubles or whatever currency now. I remember leaving in August 1991 and turning in the ruble notes I had, and guess what - they would not convert them to hard currency or something I was thinking I might get - only into those 5 ruble coins. At the time I didn't care for them, but now I am glad I have whole bunch of the "Sobor" series coins.

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I vote Candidate's post to be one of the best posts for this week. Thanks for sharing such interesting information!

 

<<snip>>

 

I certainly have to agree with that. Very interesting. :bthumbsup:

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When the 3 and 5 ruble commemorative coins started to appear in circulation in 1987, was that a big amount back then or that's signs of inflation and the ruble started to be worth less?

In 1987 3 and 5 roubles were still worth much enough... I graduated and got my first "serious" job in 1986, and in 1987-1988 the full 3-course lunch in our canteen was still not more than 1.50; cigarettes started from 40 kop (when you could find them in tobacco "kiosk"), and bottle of beer was 50 kop (including 20 kop. refund for empty bottle).

Though, as noted above, it was harder and harder with each year to find and buy even basic items as most kinds of food (meat, fish, fresh vegetables), clothes and most of other consumer goods... even in Moscow they had to start rationing and "talony" (kind of coupons) were introduced for some of goods, as sugar, soap, cigarettes, vodka, etc.

And in 1988 or 1989 to get an officially priced 50-kop. bottle of beer we with my friends often went to a liguor store from backdoor ("s chernogo vkhoda") and paid 1 rouble for bottle; also you had to bribe a doorman (5 or 10 roubles usually) to get into a restaurant in the evening, and so on...

 

But 3 and 5 roubles coins actually were never (or very rarely) seen in circulation till 1990 or 1991...

Actually, I found 5 roubles commemorative coins from circulation only once or twice (I think, it was in 1991), and never found 3 roubles coin.

 

And by mid-1991 inflation was speeding up on a full scale already, and 5 roubles could buy you probably less than 1 rouble 3 years earlier...

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Funny you should mention. I hit up my LCS yesterday, and found three 1970 Lenin commems in the foreigns bin, but almost never see a regular issue ruble coin. The only other ones I have are the 1987 Tsiolkovsky, and the 1991 regular issue, which was purchased singly rather than from a bin.

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