Gold coins, furthermore, have a particular significance,
because as a luxury, they circulated primarily among the wealthy. It is
no coincidence that gold is called ‘the king of metals’ and ‘the metal
The gold coins on display reflect many aspects of the Romanov dynasty’s history, embodying many important political and economic developments in the life of the country, showing the changing trends in art, as well as the state’s heraldry, symbols, and phaleristics, and attesting to the development of the technologies in coinage and the mining of metal.
Gold coins were not minted for monetary circulation until the reign of Peter I. Vladimir’s zlatniks, gold kopecks of Vasily Shuisky and Polish prince Władysław period were exceptions – they were issued for payment to mercenary troops in the years of the Time of Trouble (the gold of the royal treasury and churches was re-minted in order to pay to foreign soldiers).
Gold kopeck Gold kopeck (1610/1613)International Numismatic Club
The gold kopeck of Władysław Žygimontovich is an interesting case of minting a coin in the name of a non-existent Russian tsar, because the Polish prince Władysław Waza was never converted to Russian Orthodoxy and was never crowned.
Gold kopeck Obverse sideInternational Numismatic Club
According to the agreement between the Polish king Sigismund III (in Russian – Žygimont) and the boyar government called Heptarchy, prince Władysław was to succeed to the Russian throne after the deposition of Vasily Shuisky.
Gold kopeck Reverse sideInternational Numismatic Club
So in 1610, the boyar government proceeded to minting coins on his behalf, that were intended for paying emolument to the mercenary troops.
At the end of 1612, the boyar government was deposed, and in 1613 Michael Fyodorovich Romanov was elected Tsar. Still, prince Władysław continued to enjoy the title of Grand Prince of Moscow until 1634.
A gold coin in half Ugric dedicated to the Crimean campaign of 1687. Tsars Ivan Alexeevich (1682-1696), Petr Alexeevich (1682-1725) in the period of Princess Sophia's regency. Alexeevna (1682-1689) A gold coin in half Ugric dedicated to the Crimean campaign of 1687. Tsars Ivan Alexeevich (1682-1696), Petr Alexeevich (1682-1725) in the period of Princess Sophia's regency. Alexeevna (1682-1689) (obverse side)International Numismatic Club
Medals were not minted in Russia before the time of Peter I. Warriors were rewarded with coins as remuneration for the service. Here is an example of such a coin. It is a monument to Prince V.V. Golitsyn’s ignominious Crimea campaigns of 1687 and 1689. Such coins were awarded to the lower ranks of Russian army.
The design of this coin testifies to the ambitions of Princess Sophia (sister of Peter I) to the Russian throne.
On the obverse, where the inscription commences, are images of two brothers – sovereigns Peter and Ivan in princely caps; over them a small image of the state coat of arms is placed.
A gold coin in half Ugric dedicated to the Crimean campaign of 1687. Tsars Ivan Alexeevich (1682-1696), Petr Alexeevich (1682-1725) in the period of Princess Sophia's regency. Alexeevna (1682-1689) A gold coin in half Ugric dedicated to the Crimean campaign of 1687. Tsars Ivan Alexeevich (1682-1696), Petr Alexeevich (1682-1725) in the period of Princess Sophia Alexeevna's regency (1682-1689) (reverse side)International Numismatic Club
On the reverse side is a larger portrait of the princess: she is depicted wearing a royal crown and holding a sceptre in her hand.
The poor legibility of the legend made the researchers believe that the side with a much more prominent portrait of the tsarevna (a near-time tsarina) was the obverse.
To the left of the portrait of Sophia Alexeyevna is an assay mark of a famous Russian numismatist Emerick von Gutten-Chapsky.
The year 1700 was a milestone that divided the history of the Russian monetary system into archaic (or, as it is often called, “pre-Petrine”) and new (or “imperial”) periods. In the late 17th century the Great Embassy of Peter I went to London where the tsar several times visited the mint located in the Tower and closely studied the operation of the machines (under the guidance of Isaac Newton, a renowned physicist and, at the same time, the mint keeper).
The British experience seemed interesting to the tsar and was later used in Russia. Soon mintage of coins in Russia became possible with the use of machining methods.
Chervonets of 1701 (obverse side). Tsar Peter I (1682-1725) Chervonets of 1701 (obverse side). Tsar Peter I (1682-1725) (obverse side)International Numismatic Club
The mintage of double and regular Chervonets coins began in 1701 in Moscow.
Chervonets coin, 1703 Obverse sideInternational Numismatic Club
The main and most painful problem was the problem of raw materials. Gold for minting Chervonets coins was bought in China and transported through Nerchinsk customs. The country’s own gold production was negligible at that time.
Chervonets of 1701 (obverse side). Tsar Peter I (1682-1725) Chervonets of 1701. Tsar Peter I (1682-1725) (reverse side)International Numismatic Club
Chervonets coins had the same weight as the European ducat – 3.46 g. With all the scarcity of mintage, Russian coins and medals of 1701-1711 took on the function of glorification of Russia, visual evidence of its political and military success.
Chervonets coin 1713 Chervonets coin 1713 (1713/1713)International Numismatic Club
The portrait of the sovereign occupied most of the coin obverse area, the verso showed the Russian coat of arms; the legend contained information on name and title of the tsar, date of issue and denomination of the coin.
Chervonets coin 1713 Reverse sideInternational Numismatic Club
The design of the side bearing the coat of arms has certain peculiarities.
Chervonets coin, 1711 Reverse sideInternational Numismatic Club
In 1710-1711, in addition to the sceptre and the orb, the depicted double-headed eagle is holding four maps in its beaks and arms, symbolising Russia’s supremacy over the four seas: the White Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Elisabeth’s [Elizaveta Petrovna] reign was recorded in history as an epoch of festivity, prodigality, luxury and peace-loving politics. During her reign, Elisabeth demonstrated her desire to continue the deeds begun by Peter the Great and to establish her authority at the court and before the European powers.
Five-ruble coin, 1755 Obverse sideInternational Numismatic Club
In 1755, the issue of new golden coins with the denomination of 10 and 5 rubles was launched.
Five-ruble coin, 1755 Reverse sideInternational Numismatic Club
The reverse side of these gold coins had a state-emblem composition representing a small coat of arms ornamented by coats of arms of Moscow, Kazan, Siberian and Astrakhan Tsardoms. There are four roses between the shields around the eagle.
The heraldic symbols visibly showed Russia’s right to be an empire, were indicative of the vast territory of the country having four large tsardoms in its structure. At the same time, the composition represented an equi-pointed cross indicating at Christianity as the main religion of the state.
Since the inscription on the reverse side had the word “imperial”, the new 10-ruble gold coins got the name of imperials, and 5-ruble coins – semi-imperials.
Ten-ruble coin, 1757 Obverse sideInternational Numismatic Club
In 1756, St. Petersburg mint invited Jacques-Antoine Dassier, one of the most famous medallionists of Europe, for collaboration. His grandfather, Damiano Dassier, was a chief engraver of Geneva mint; his father Jean succeeded the former after his death in 1719 and became a chief medal-maker at Geneva mint. The Dassier family medallionists worked over mintage of coins and medals at the mints of England, France, Italy and Russia at different times.
In July 1757, the Mint Office submitted a specimen of ruble minted with Dassier’s stamp to the Senate. After its approval by Elizabeth, a decree on minting a new ruble coin with the new stamp followed on August 7. However, as soon as on November 10, 1757, Elizabeth gave an order “to discharge the stamp” and to engrave a new one where she was depicted in a beautiful dress and jewellery, instead of a large portrait.
After the death of Elizaveta Petrovna, her nephew Peter III opened his 186-day reign. During the short period of the new emperor’s reign, about 26 thousand imperials, 9 thousand semi-imperials and 10 thousand chervonets coins were issued.
However, Catherine II who dethroned Peter III, re-minted the scarce stock of gold coins. Therefore, gold specimens of the time of Peter III are very rare to date and are among the most expensive coins of the Russian Empire.
Scrutinising this imperial, we can discern the profile of Peter III behind the portrait of the Empress.
Gold coins exemplified the wealth of the Romanov dynasty and took their rightful place in the realm of currency circulation both in Russia and the world. Simultaneously, as elements of solemn ceremonies, they played a significant role in the life of the royal family, in addition to being items of daily use at the court.