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Coins and Medals of Imperial Russia: Nicholas II

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Nicholas II (1894-1917)

Portait of Nicholas IINicholas II probably would have been a relatively good ruler in more auspicious and tranquil times. The unfortunate Czar and his wife, the Empress Alexandra, four daughters and son, the Czarevich Alexei, were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918, following the disaster of World War I and the two Russian revolutions of 1917.

The Empire moved to the gold standard in 1897, with no major changes in silver coinage. The heavy burden on the St. Petersburg Mint of striking a vast quantity of the new gold coins led to the decision to farm out to the Paris and Brussels Mints the minting part of the banks silver coinage from 1896 to 1899. The Russians provided the French and the Belgians with hubs or dies for the coinage they produced, so that one can distinguish the foreign-minted coinage by looking at the edge of the coin: a single star for Paris and two stars for Brussels. The last rubles of the Imperial era were struck by Nicholas II in 1915 and subsidiary coinage continued until 1917.

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1896 coin celebrating the coronation of Nicholas II, “Emperor of all the Russias”.

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
2001.87.333

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1898 ruble commemorating the dedication of a monument at the Kremlin in Moscow, in memory of Czar Alexander II. The construction of the monument was started by Nicholas II’s father, Czar Alexander III, and completed in 1898.

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.332

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail ¼ copper kopeck piece, 1899, showing “¼ kopieki, 1899 S.P.B. (Saint Petersburg)”.
Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.328

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1898 ½ copper kopeck coin, obverse side, showing engraving.

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.329

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1901 silver ruble with image of Nicholas II.

Collection of Coins and Medals
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.331

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail Silver ruble of 1912 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Borodino, when the Russians fought against the invading French Grande Armee under Napoleon.
Collection of Coins and Medals, Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.335

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail 1913 Silver ruble celebrating the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov, with portraits of Michael (the first Romanov ruler of Russia) and Nicholas II.
Collection of Coins and Medals, Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.334

coin thumbnail coin thumbnail A 3 kopeck coin from 1916. This was among the last series of coins issued by the Romanovs, who were overthrown by the first Russian revolution in 1917.
Collection of Coins and Medals, Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Rev. William H. Owen
2001.87.330