Anticipation is building for the end of summer ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction to be held in Chicago. Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio and the world numismatic team are hard at work preparing for our biggest world coin auction of the year. This week we feature another highly desirable Russian gold coin. The inaugural emperor Peter of the House of Romanov ruled Russia first as Tsar and then as Emperor after he expanded it into a major European power. Peter the Great ruled Russia for over 40 years, forged the Tsardom into an empire and succeeded in modernizing the traditionalist and medieval society. He believed Russia’s future as a world power hinged on a modern and Europe-oriented society as well a rationalist system of government. Peter expanded the territory through war, most notably his attempt to gain a Baltic port in what is known as the Great Northern War against Sweden. After a disastrous first sortie, Peter’s allies held the Swedish army’s attention while Peter founded St. Petersburg in recently captured territory. The Swedish King Charles XII then attempted to invade Russia, a ruinous idea that would be repeated by Napoleon and Hitler. Peter was able to halt the Swedish advance, and implemented a scorched earth policy to deprive the enemy of supplies. The Swedes faltered in the brutal Russian winter and were defeated soon after. Throughout most of Peter’s rule Russia was at war, in an effort to expand his territory and gain an access to a port. The later years of Peter’s reign were marked by modernization reforms in Russia.
Our featured coin comes from the twilight of Peter’s rule, and the formal end of the Great Northern War. This coin was minted just before Peter acquired the formal title of Emperor, as evidenced by this coin’s Cyrillic legend. The dignified right facing bust of Peter the Great appears in full regalia, with laurel crown and full cuirass and drape. A palm frond appears on the front of his armor as well. The legend begins at the 12 o’clock position and continues clockwise: “Tsar Peter Alexievich, of all the Russias, Autocrat”. The plural “Russias” is significant as it dates back beyond Peter I (the Great) as a term enumerating the various regions of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus that were brought into the Tsardom, later evolving into the Russian empire. The reverse features an image of the patron saint of Russia, Saint Andrew. He is depicted standing facing on a low base, robed and adorned with a halo. St. Andrew is holding his famous x-shaped cross behind him. The reverse inscription reads: “New Coin weight (or value) 2 Rubles 17-20.” Struck on a nice problem-free planchet, which is somewhat unusual for this series as many coins of this type have planchet flaws and defects. This coin is a remarkably choice example for this type (holdered by PCGS with a grade of Mint State-63 with a Secure Holder) with good color, original luster and a sharp strike. This example is currently the finest graded at PCGS and tied for finest overall graded, with a sole example by NGC. Only four Mint State examples of this date are presently certified by both PCGS and NGC.
Look for this and other World and ancient numismatic rarities in our upcoming August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction and Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this July at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at www.StacksBowers.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. Our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction is still open for further consignments of world and ancient coins, and our 2014 August Hong Kong Showcase Auction and sale is still taking consignments of Asian coins as well. Time is running short, so 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.