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Countable items of coin denomination on the coins of the Russian Empire that had been minted in the 18th and 19th centuries

Some types of silver coins and copper coins minted in the Russian Empire between 1713 and 1810 AD had not only usual denomination (written by numerals and/or words) but also special countable items on them. The number of these countable items was equal to the denomination of the coin specified on it (represented in kopecks). NB: 1 rouble = 100 kopecks.

So what's the story behind these countable items on coins? Why did they exist? It turns out, a lot of people, mostly peasants, were illiterate and therefore could hardly understand the meaning of words and numerals. Hopefully, they knew how to count, so they did count those items and thus understood what was the face value of this or that coin in their hands.

First of all, here is some statistics.

As I said above, coins described here were minted between 1713 and 1810 AD the following Russian emperors and empresses minted them: Peter the Great, Catherine I, Peter II, Anna Ioannovna, Elizaveta Petrovna, Peter III, Catherine the Great (Catherine II) and Alexander I.

These coins were made of silver: 20 kopecks, 15 , 10 kopecks, 5 kopecks, 3 kopecks, 1 kopeck; and of copper 10 kopecks, 5 kopecks, 4 kopecks, 2 kopecks, 1 kopeck. But before I get to detailed description, I want to show you specific countable items used on these coins (in descending order of frequency of use):

1. Dots (embossed; in other words, relief, and therefore easily accessible by touch) on most of these coins.


2. Stars silver 5 kopecks in the clouds of Elizaveta Petrovna; copper 1, 2, 4 and 10 kopecks drums (with military accessories) of Peter III.


3. Lines (vertical lines that look like Roman numeral I, which stands for one) on silver 5 kopecks of Peter the Great, minted in 1713.


Now let's finally get down to the coin types.


I. SILVER COINS.

I.I. 20 KOPECKS:

• Catherine the Great: 17641793; i.e., 17641776, 17781779, 1781, 17831793. Dots.

I.II. 15 KOPECKS:

• Catherine the Great: 17641794; i.e., 17641771, 17741775, 17781779, 17811794. Dots.

I.III. 10 KOPECKS (another name is GRIVENNIK):

• grivennik Peter the Great: 17181720. Dots.

• grivna Catherine I: 1726. Dots.

• grivennik Anna Ioannovna: 17311735. Dots.

I.IV. 5 KOPECKS:

• Peter the Great: 17131714. Either dots or vertical lines.

• Elizaveta Petrovna: 17551761 (5 kopecks in the clouds). Stars.

I.V. 3 KOPECKS (another name is ALTYN):

• altyn Peter the Great: 17131714. Dots.

• altynnik Peter the Great: 1718. Dots.

I.V. 1 KOPECK:

• a type with the double-headed eagle on the obverse Peter the Great: 17131714. Dots.

• a type with a rider on horseback on the obverse Peter the Great: 1718. Dots.


II. COPPER COINS.

II.I. 10 KOPECKS:

• Peter III: 1762 (drums). Stars.

• Catherine the Great: 1796 (these coins literally weren't in circulation; Paul`s recoining had been applied to them). Dots.

II.II. 5 KOPECKS:

• krestovik (what means cross-shaped) Peter the Great, Catherine I, Peter II, Anna Ioannovna: 17231727, 17291730. Dots.

• Catherine the Great: 1796 (these coins literally weren't in circulation). Dots.

• koltsevik (what means ring-shaped) Alexander I: 18021810. Dots.

II.III. 4 KOPECKS:

• Peter III: 1762 (drums). Stars.

• Catherine the Great: 1796 (these coins literally weren't in circulation). Dots.

II.IV. 2 KOPECKS:

• Peter III: 1762 (drums). Stars.

• Catherine the Great: 1796 (these coins literally weren't in circulation). Dots.

• koltsevik (what means ring-shaped) Alexander I: 18021805, 1807. Dots.

II.V. 1 KOPECK:

• Peter III: 1762 (drums). Stars.

• Catherine the Great: 1796 (these coins literally weren't in circulation). Dots.

• koltsevik (what means ring-shaped) Alexander I: 18041805, 1807. Dots.


This article was written on May 12 and 13, 2014.


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