Rare gold coin which 'linked Russia and France' could sell for $142,200

Auction house Kuenker is carrying out a whole series of coin auctions later this month with their offerings likely to impress those of almost any numismatic persuasion.

Naturally we cannot cover everything here, but fans of rare Russian coins (and there are increasing numbers of them) will not want to miss the auction on June 23-24. There is one clear highlight:

This is a 37 1/2 ruble (or 100 franc) piece of Tsar Nicholas II from the mint of St. Petersburg. Of great rarity it is one of only 225 copies made. There are some edge errors, especially in the temple gloss.

Nicholas II Alexandrovich initially continued the autocratic rule of his father Alexander III until he was forced by the 1905 Revolution during the Russo-Japanese War into radical reforms.

He granted his people fundamental human rights, universal suffrage and called a legislative parliament (Duma) in Russia. In foreign policy he aimed at the preservation of Russian influence in the Balkans, and didn't hesitate before entering into the First World War, and personally taking over command.

After the outbreak of the Russian revolution he abdicated and was murdered along with his wife, Alexandra of Hesse, the heir to the throne and the four daughters in July 1918 in the Siberian exile.

Nicholas II gold rouble franc coin
An early Euro... The Nicholas II gold 37 1/2 rouble/100 franc coin

The gold coin for auction is one of the best known and most sought-after Russian coins. This currency union with the French franc as the foundation was the initiative of Napoleon III. It was decided in 1865 by France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland (accession of Greece in 1868).

This double standard, the golden 20-franc piece, and the silver 5-franc pieces were valid in all five states. The largest coin of the Monetary Union was the 100-franc piece, which was struck in France in large quantities.

In 1902 Nicholas II added a prestigious gold coin to be equivalent to 100 Swiss francs, or 37 ½ rubles shape, which was distributed to dignitaries. As the auctioneer notes, this famous rarity of the Russian monetary history "also documents the links between Russia and the French Republic", and is expected to sell for €100,000 ($146,200).

Russian coins are one of the stronger collectible markets at the moment, as demonstrated clearly by Kuenker itself when it sold a rare Russian rouble for $217,000 earlier this year. They can therefore make excellent alternative investments.

Collectors interested in the period may also be interested in Walter Mooromsky's collection of Russian gallantry medals, which sold six months ago.


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