Commemorative imperial family rouble to headline Russian coin auction

Baldwin's forthcoming auction of Russian Coins, Medals and Orders will be highlighted by the sale of an 1836 commemorative rouble that depicts the Russian imperial family.

With Nicholas I shown on the obverse and Alexandra Feodorovna surrounded by the grand dukes and duchesses on the reverse, the piece is expected to sell for $45,000 on January 10.

Russian Imperial Family Rouble coin
The family roubles are the only ones issued under Nicholas I to show his face

Known as the "family rouble", the coin first appeared in 1835. This first year of issue saw just 36 pieces minted by the St Petersburg mint, one of the lowest mintages of any coin in Russia. Examples were only offered directly by the tsar to the highest ranking noblemen.

The 1836 coin is almost identical, though was minted in an issue of 50 coins. There were re-strikes minted as presentation pieces and although the exact number is not known, they are of the utmost rarity.

Both the 1835 and 1836 coins are highly-prized by collectors as they are the only ones to show the portrait of Nicholas I, as the emperor only issued regular coins showing the imperial eagle or his N monogram.

The 1836 example at auction is in "prooflike uncirculated" condition, showing the die-break usually found in this issue. It is lightly toned all over with great mint lustre and contact marks. One of the finest known examples of the coin was sold by Heritage Auctions in 2009 for $80,500.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic selection of rare coins for sale. For more of the latest and exclusive investment advice, sign up to our free weekly newsletter.

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