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Coins and Medals of Imperial Russia: Nicholas I

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Nicholas I (1825-1855)

Portait of Nicholas IIn 1822 Constantine, the second oldest brother of the childless Czar Alexander I, renounced his right to the Russian throne, and Alexander I designated his next oldest brother, Nikolai Pavlovich, as Czarevich. In December of 1825, hearing the news of Alexander’s death, the two brothers, Nicholas and Constantine, each independently swore allegiance to the other as the new Czar. In the prevailing confusion, partisans of a more liberal regime (the Decembrists), launched a poorly coordinated rebellion in favor of Constantine, who they thought would be more progressive. Nicholas was promptly installed as Czar and quickly suppressed the rebellion.

The thirty-year series of rubles and the eight-year series of 1 ½ ruble pieces of Nicholas I offer many interesting features. The regular coinage, which appears at first glance to be rather monotonous, reflects several new technological developments. The bilingual 1 ½ ruble/10 zloty coin (in Russian and Polish) is a numismatic reflection of Russia’s effort over the years to move towards a practical and more realistic consideration in Russo-Polish monetary and economic affairs. On the other hand, Nicholas I, a man of principle opposed to anything showy in his empire’s currency, paradoxically found himself sponsoring more celebrative and commemorative coins than any previous Russian sovereign, achieving a record matched only be the last Czar, Nicholas II.

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail A profoundly original phenomenon was the striking by the Russian state of new platinum coins with the value of 3, 6 and 12 rubles from 1828 to 1845. Russia is the only country in the world that struck platinum coins for circulation. Shown is a 12 rubles piece, 1830.

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.265

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1833 Imperial Russian coin used in the Polish lands under Czarist control – a 1 ½ rubles piece/ 10 Polish zlotys.
Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Bequest of Edward A. Bowers
2001.87.262

Two silver coins, 1834 1½ ruble piece and 1 ruble piece, also from 1834.

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail The 1½ rubles coin commemorates the Battle of Borodino, 1812, against Napoleon.
Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.274

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail  

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.267

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 6 rubles, platinum, from 1830

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.263

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1828 3 rubles, platinum.

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.264

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1827 1 ruble piece

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.266

Copper coins in various denominations

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 5 kopecks (1830)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.268

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 5 kopecks (1851)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
2001.87.233

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 3 kopecks (1854)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.234

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 2 kopecks (1855)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.235

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1 kopecks (1844)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Bequest of Edward A. Bowers
2001.87.270

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1 kopeck (1842)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Bequest of Edward A. Bowers
2001.87.271

Copper coins in various denominations

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1 kopeck (1852)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.237

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail ½ kopeck (1840)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.269

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail ½ kopeck (1850)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.238

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail ½ kopeck (1852)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.239

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail ¼ kopeck (1840)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.273

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail ¼ kopeck (1850)

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.241