Russian coins from the 16th century to the end of the 20th track the rise and fall of numerous Czars, the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, the founding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922, and its formal dissolution at the end of 1991. Throughout it all, citizens of cities from to Moscow to Vladivostok have used rubles to purchase goods and services. In the early years of the 18th century, Russia became the first nation to embrace a decimal system for its coinage when it created the kopek, which today is still worth 1/100th of a ruble.

Kopeks from the 19th century are especially popular with collectors, thanks to their generally wide availability and accessible prices. The earliest kopeks of the 1800s featured a double-headed eagle, with six coats of arms on its wings and a crown floating above its heads. Coins from this era were minted in copper and silver. By the middle of the century, the design had changed to include ribbons trailing from the crown and eight coats of arms on the bird’s wings.

Rubles often featured portraits of various Czars, whose names in the 19th century tended to be Nikolai or Alexander. Other silver rubles were struck for commemorative purposes, such as the one minted in 1912 to mark the 100th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon or the coin from 1914 celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Gangut.

Kopeks and rubles minted between 1917 and 1991 are easy to come by, as are coins in smaller denominations such as polushkas (1/4 of a kopek) and dengas (1/2 of a kopek).


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