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Coins and Medals of Imperial Russia: Alexander I

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Alexander I (1801-1825)

Portait of Alexander IAlexander led the successful coalition war against Napoleon, following the French invasion of Russia in 1812. Alexander I was the most enigmatic of Russia’s rulers. His charm and affability allowed him more easily to pursue often-contradictory policies. His reforms, especially before 1811, strengthened legal order and the state while preserving autocracy. Yet he granted constitutions to Poland and Finland, and freed the serfs in the Baltic provinces. In his later years he turned toward mysticism and grew increasingly conservative.

Alexander I took a still more self-effacing stance than his father, Paul I, in coin design. He did away with Paul’s cruciform Imperial cipher theme and the religious device - "Not unto Us, Not unto Us, but in Thy name" - and opted for the Romanov double eagle and the rather bland inscription, "Russian Government Ruble Coin," on the reverse side.

Two silver rubles

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail The first coin, 1802, is engraved with the inscription, translated from the Russian, as State Russian money, "Gosudarstvennaia Ross. Moneta".

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
2001.87.275

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail The second coin, from 1808, is shown with the obverse side, portraying the Romanov double-eagle.

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
2001.87.276

Two den’gas

coin thumbnail coin thumbnailTwo den’gas, 1811 and 1814, showing both sides. The den’ga was a copper sub-multiple of the kopeck and was worth one-half kopeck.
Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.281

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail  

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
2001.87.280

Two 5 kopeck pieces

coin thumbnail coin thumbnailTwo 5 kopeck pieces from 1802 – both sides presented. Note once again the five upraised dots around the edge of the coin, to show those who could not read that it was worth five kopecks.
Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
2001.87.278

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail  

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.277