The rouble is the currency of Russia. While it dates back to the 13th century, the first regular minting of the rouble was a silver coin introduced by Peter I “The Great” in 1704. After Russia instituted the gold standard in 1897, the silver rouble was replaced with three Russian rouble gold coins.
The denominations included the 15 rouble, 10 rouble, 7.5 rouble and 5 rouble gold coin. The 15 rouble and the 7.5 rouble gold coin was only issued for 1 year in 1897. Under the reign of Nicholas II, the 10 rouble was issued from 1898-1911 and 5 rouble gold coins were issued from 1897-1911.
There was also a 5 rouble gold coin that was minted from 1886-1894, during the reign of Alexander III. However, the 5 rouble gold coin under Alexander was issued in more limited quantities than the rouble gold coins under Nicholas II.
Just before World War I gold coin production ceased and a period of high inflation ensued that would eventually make the rouble worthless. From the October revolution of 1917, that forced the abdication of Nicholas II, until 1922 was a tumultuous period in Russian history.
The reform of the monetary system in 1922-23 and the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) resulted in the introduction of the chervonetz gold coin in 1923. The chervonetz was also the name that appeared on banknotes and circulation coins until 1947 when the rouble was re-established.
The chervonetz was minted with the same gold content as the 10 rouble gold coin issued under Nicholas II. The chervonetz gold coin was issued in 1923, 1925 and from 1975 to 1982.
While there were different types of gold coins issued by the Russian Empire and imperial Russia we will highlight the most popular which include:
The 15 rouble gold coin Nicholas II (1897)
The 10 rouble gold coin Nicholas II (1898-1911)
The 7.5 rouble gold coin Nicholas II (1897)
The 5 Rouble gold coin Nicholas II (1897-1911)
The 5 rouble gold coin Alexander III (1886-1894)
The 10 rouble chervonetz gold coin (1923-1982)
Russian gold coins tell the story of the great Russian Empire throughout its incredible yet turbulent history. All the gold coins profiled below have a purity of 90% gold. Russian gold coins are currently enjoying popularity with both investors and collectors. Some editions may be difficult to come by because of high demand.
15 Rouble Nicholas II Gold Coin (1897)
The 15 rouble gold coin was only issued in 1897. Just under 12 million of these coins were minted. The design is the same as the other rouble gold coins issued under Nicholas II.
The front side depicts the portrait of Tsar Nicholas II. His title is inscripted around the outer edge in Russian. The reverse side shows the coat of arms of Russia, which is depicted as the Imperial Russian two headed eagle with a crown above. The nominal value of “15 Rouble” and date of issue “1897” are engraved on the lower outer edge.
Purity: 90% Gold
Gross Weight: 12.9 g
Fine Weight: .3734 ounces
Diameter: 25 mm
Denomination: 15 Roubles
10 Rouble Nicholas II Gold Coin (1898-1911)
In 1897, a series of financial reforms were completed that restored the gold standard. The 10 rouble gold coin was then introduced and minted from 1898-1911. The gold coins were produced by the St. Petersburg Mint and the largest mintage year was the 1899 edition with approximately 27 million coins. Most of the other editions had yearly issues in the single digit millions.
The motif side of the coin depicts the left profile view of Nicholas II who was the last emperor of Russia and ruled from 1894-1917. The outer edge features Russian inscriptions which translate as “By Grace of God Nicholas II Emperor and Autocrat of all of Russia”. There is also an ornamental circle that surrounds the outer edge.
The value side depicts a two headed eagle with a crown. This depiction is from the coat of arms of Ivan III and represents Kazan, Astrakhan and Russia. There is a horse in the center and the eagle carries a sword in its right claw. The inscriptions on the bottom outer edge include the nominal value of 10 roubles and the year of issue.
The edge bar has an inscription that reads “1 Zolotnik 78.24 Units of Pure Gold”. The edge is also smooth and slightly raised which protects the surface of the coin.
Weight: 0.2489 gold ounces
Diameter: 22.5 mm
Purity: 90% gold
Nominal Value: 10 Roubles
7.5 Rouble Nicholas II Gold Coin (1897)
The 7.5 rouble gold coin is an unusual denomination for a gold coin and was also only issued in 1897. There were approximately 16,829,000 of these coins minted. The design is similar to the other rouble gold coins issued during the reign of Nicholas II.
The front side depicts a left side profile of Nicholas II. His title as Emperor of Russia is engraved on the outer edge and is in Russian. The reverse side shows the Russian coat of arms. The nominal value of “7 Rouble 50 Kopeks” and the date of issue “1897” are embossed around the lower outer edge.
Purity: 90% Gold
Gross Weight: 6.45 g
Fine Weight: .1867 oz
Diameter: 21.3 mm
Denomination: 7 Roubles and 50 Kopeks
5 Rouble Nicholas II Gold Coin (1897-1911)
The 5 rouble Nicholas II gold coin was minted from 1897 until 1911. Most editions were minted in high numbers with the 1898 issue being the largest at about 52 million coins. However, some yearly issues had a more limited mintage. The 1906 and 1907 editions had a mintage of just 10 and 109 coins for those respective issues. All of the 5 rouble Nicholas II gold coins were minted at the St. Petersburg Mint.
The reverse side of the coin depicts the coat of arms, which has a two headed eagle with a crown above. The lettering around the outer edge reads the date of issue and nominal value of 5 roubles. There is an ornamental circle that surrounds the outer edge on both sides of the coin.
The motif side of the coin depicts the portrait of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. The engravings around the outer edge are in Russian and translate as “By God’s Grace Nicholas II Emperor and Autocrat of all of Russia”.
Weight: .1244 gold ounces
Diameter: 18.6 mm
Purity: 90% gold
Nominal Value: 5 Roubles
Nicholas II ruled from 1894 to 1917 and was the last emperor of Russia. He introduced rouble gold coins in an effort to stabilize the Russian economy. His tumultuous reign saw the decline of the Russian Empire from a great economic and military power to collapse. He would be forced to abdicate in 1917 and he and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
His handling of Bloody Sunday and Russia’s involvement in World War I would lead to his downfall. In 1905 demonstrators in St. Petersburg sought improved working conditions, appealing to Nicholas II. Guards opened fired on the crowd killing more than 1,000 people. The event was known as “Bloody Sunday”.
Nicholas II was the last Tsar of the Romanov dynasty. The Romanov dynasty began in 1613 with Michael Romanov and ended over 300 years later with Nicholas II.
5 Rouble Alexander III Gold Coin (1886-1894)
The 5 rouble Alexander III gold coin was issued from 1886-1894. Although these coins were minted for multiple years, they are considered more rare than gold coins issued under Nicholas II.
The design is similar to the Nicholas II rouble gold coins. The front side depicts a right profile view of Alexander III. The inscriptions around the outer edge are in Russian.
The reverse side shows the coat of arms as a crown with a two headed eagle. The nominal value and date of issue are engraved along the bottom outer edge. There is also an ornamental circle that surround the outer edge on both sides.
Purity: 90% Gold
Gross Weight: 6.4516 g
Fine Weight: .1867 ounces
Diameter: 21 mm
Denomination: 5 Roubles
Alexander III was the Emperor of Russia from 1881 to 1894. He was known as the “Peacemaker” because he fought no major wars during his reign. He was also said to have a conservative political philosophy, as he reversed many of his fathers (Alexander II) liberal policies.
Chervonetz Gold Coin (1923, 1925, 1975-1982)
Chervonets was the term used for a former Russian currency that was issued under Ivan III in the 15th century and continued until Peter the great. The chervonets referred to Russian coinage, but often described a large gold coin.
After the financial reforms of early 1920’s, the chervonetz gold coin was issued in 1923. The 1923 edition had a total mintage of approximately 2.75 million coins. While the chervonetz was also minted in 1925, only one known coin remains from this edition. The chervonetz was minted again from 1975 through 1982. Many of these editions were minted in the single digit millions and are the most available coins from this series.
The motif side of the coin depicts a farmer sowing seeds. The design includes a plow, industrial plant and a rising sun in the background. The inscriptions around the outer edge are in Russian and include the date of issue on the bottom and the nominal value on top. An ornamental circle on the outer edge surrounds both sides of the coin.
The reverse side depicts the coat of arms with a hammer and sickle in the center. In the background is a corn corpuscle and rising sun. The inscriptions around the outer edge translate as “Proletarians of the World Unite”. Below the coat of arms are the letters “PCOCP”. There is also an inscription on the edge of the coin that translates “Leningrad Coin”. The chervonetz gold coin was minted at the Moscow Mint and the Leningrad Mint.
Weight: .2489 gold ounces
Diameter: 22.5 mm
Purity: 90% gold
Nominal Value: 1 Chervonetz (1 chervonetz equals 10 rouble)
The Soviet Union emerged out the October revolution in 1917. The Russian Provisional Government, which had replaced Nicholas II, was overthrown by the Bolsheviks, who were led by Vladimir Lenin. In 1922 a treaty unified Russia, Transcaucasian, Ukrainian and Byelo-Russian republics. Joseph Stalin would come to power in the mid 1920’s after Lenin’s death. In 1991 some of the states separated from the USSR and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was created.
The Ruble was the world’s first decimal currency system, when in it was decimalized to 100 kopeks in 1704. Behind the pound sterling, the ruble (also spelled rouble) is the oldest currency and dates back to the 13th century. Throughout its history, Russia has gone through periods of extreme inflation. This has led to financial reforms at various times that resulted in different versions of the Ruble currency.
Buying Tips for Russian Coins
The price of Russian gold coins consists on the gold “spot price” and the premium. Gold is traded on the global stock exchanges and the spot price is the listed price of one ounce of gold. The premium is the sum of the cost and margin of the mint and bullion dealer. The premium will vary depending on the bullion dealer, as each dealer has a different cost structure.
When purchasing Russian gold coins the following factors will also influence the price.
The 1975-1982 editions of the chervonetz gold coin are the best option for gold investors who want to own Russian gold coins. The USSR re-issued these coins from 1975-1982 in an effort to compete with the South African Krugerrand which was the dominant gold coin during this period.
Imperial Russian gold coins issued during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II will carry different premiums. The editions that have lower mintages will trade at a higher premium.
Imperial Russian coins have been in high demand with collectors. Generally speaking, when a particular gold coin series is in high demand, then the premium will also be higher.
Manufacturer: Russian Mint
Country of origin: Russia
Series Name: Rouble Gold Coins - Chervonetz Gold Coins
Purity: 90% Gold
Denomination: 10 Rouble, 5 Rouble and 1 Chervonetz
Scratch resistance: Good
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