10 Ruble of Alexander III

Just one month remains before the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio auction at the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo. Imperial Russia provides the highlight coin for this week, a rare gold 10 Ruble. Emperor Alexander III was seen as a physically imposing and less refined member of the House of Romanov, who veered away from his father’s liberal and elegant nature. It is said that Alexander embraced his lack of elegance, as he enjoyed being of the same rough nature as some of his subjects. Alexander was styled “The Peacemaker” for the achievement of avoiding any major wars during his reign. His son, Emperor Nicholas II, would rule as the last Emperor of Russia.

Alexander III’s bust faces right in nearly all photographs and representations of his likeness due to a cyst on the left side of his nose that caused some mockery during his younger years. His coinage is no exception; his right facing bust sports a receding hairline and a medium length beard. A small five petal rosette marks the beginning of the legend at the six o’clock position. The legend reads: “By the Grace of God Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias”. The plural “Russias” is significant as it dates back to Peter I (the Great) and beyond, as a term enumerating the various regions of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus that were brought into the empire.

The reverse of the coin offers a more enticing visual motif. The arms of the Imperial house are displayed above the coin’s denomination (10 Ruble) and date (1894), followed by the mint master’s initial (Appolon Grasgov). The arms displayed are known as the “lesser version” and are shortened and abbreviated as suitable for striking on a coin. Several icons with connections to the Byzantines, including the globus cruciger and the double headed eagle, are central to the design of the Arms of the Russian Empire. The connection is implied that Moscow is the “third Rome” and the spiritual successor of the original Roman Empire following Rome and Constantinople. The Coat of Arms displayed on this coin shows the Imperial double headed eagle, each head crowned and a third crown and banner above. The left claw holds the scepter, representing monarchial power, and the globus cruciger in the right claw demonstrates the religious authority of the house. The Order of Saint Andrew, the highest honorary order in Imperial Russia, appears around the arms of Moscow showing Saint George mounted and defeating the dragon. A total of eight provinces constitute the Russian Empire, and their Coat of Arms are displayed on the eagle’s wings: Astrakhan, Siberia, Georgia, Finland, Kiev-Vladimir-Novgorod, Taurica, Poland and Kazan. This coin is notable as it was minted in the final year of Alexander III’s rule. This rare piece is sure to be a highly sought after prize when it crosses the auction block.

Look for this and other World numismatic rarities in our upcoming November Baltimore Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this October at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Auction Schedule/Details link under Current Auctions at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.566.2580. While our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio November Baltimore sale is closed for further consignments, we are currently taking consignments of world and ancient coins for our January New York International, and April 2014 Hong Kong sales. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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