Rare Russian rouble is exchanged for $217,000 in German auction

At the end of January, Kuenker held a pair of much anticipated collectible coin and medal auctions, one themed on Roman miniature artwork from the 12th century AD, with Medieval and Modern rarities, the other themed more simply on Russian coins and medal.

The full results have only recently been released, and these show two very strong sales, demonstrating the investment power of the coin markets at this time.

Given the success of Russian coins and medals in recent times, notably at Baldwin's, it's always exciting to see another selection of high quality pieces coming onto the market. So we'll take a quick look at a few of the best lots in that sale.

Coins and military medals are generally placed together in a sale, but of course many collectors will not be interested in both. However, the lot tipped for top lot status in the recent auction bridges the gap, as it is a commemorative coin which marks the centenary of one of Russia's rarest medals.

The St George's Order of Merit in Russia was the only one which had a purely military character when it was founded, and was thus the highest military decoration the country.

On the 100th anniversary of the Order's foundation, a gold commemorative coin was created by V. Alexeev and P. Mescheryakov, which weighs 253g and is now of the utmost rarity.

Russian coin commemorating the Order of St George
Russian coin commemorating the Order of St George
(Click to enlarge)

 

Featuring the busts of Catherine II and Tsar Alexander II it brought €95,000 ($129,000). But it was not the top lot in the sale.

In fact three lots made it to six figures in the auction: one being a gold coin of the greatest rarity dated 1762 from the reign of Friedrich August II of Saxony, (1733-1763). Two lions keep the city crest on one side whilst a right-facing crowned bust appears on the other.

It proved to be far and away the performer against its estimate as bidders scoffed at the €6,000 listing and battled for the coin all the way to an extraordinary €100,000 ($138,000).

The top two lots were from Russia itself however. Firstly, from the reign of Tsar Alexander I, (1801-1825) was a coin made from a copper sample of the mint at St. Petersburg. The two kopecks coin is dated to 1810, St. Petersburg.

Tsar Alexander I Rubel
Tsar Alexander I Rouble coin
(Click to enlarge)

The 19.88g sample has a uniformed bust on the obverse and the reverse shows a crowned double eagle with sceptre and orb in its claws with St. George on the breast plate.

It was an exquisite specimen copy from the collection of Antonin Prokop and neatly doubled its €75,000 to sell for €150,000 ($204,000). The top lot was similarly a sample rouble from St Petersburg, this one made in 1801.

With a plain bust facing right of the young ruler on the obverse and a similar design to the two kopecks coin on the reverse, this more than doubled its €75,000 to sell for €160,000 ($217,000).

Overall, this was another reminder of the strength of Russian numismatics at this time. Watch this space for details of the other sale by Kuenker.

 
 

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