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21 February – 17 December 2017

Moscow, International Numismatic Club

Organized by: 
The Moscow Kremlin Museums, International Numismatic Club
The Moscow Kremlin Museums, International Numismatic Club

Монета – «крестильный» рубль

The Moscow Kremlin Museums and the International Numismatic Club present a joint exhibition project dedicated to gold coins in the history of the Romanov dynasty. Being an element of the most important ceremonies, personifying wealth and charity of the royal family, gold coins widely circulated at court. That is why gold is called the ‘tsar of metals’ or the ‘metal of tsars’.

The first section of the exhibition explores gold coins role in everyday life of the Royal family. One of the main elements of the coronation ceremony of princes and later tsars was the rite of showering with gold coins, which came to Rus’ from the East and was a wish for wealth, happiness and longevity.

Various Russian and foreign gold pieces were often granted by the sovereigns to monasteries and churches as an appendage to a venerated icon.

Also, members of the Romanov dynasty used to make their payments with gold coins when travelling overseas.

Russian and foreign gold coins were an adornment of jewellery pieces as well. For instance, a jade paper-knife from the collection of the Kremlin Museums, executed by the craftsmen of the renowned Fabergé firm. It is decorated with a small gold ‘court’ coin with a portrait of Empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great.

Many of the Romanovs had their private numismatic collections. One could find newly-made Russian gold pieces there – replicas of old coins stamped out at the Saint Petersburg Mint with the use of old or new stamps that quite often differed from the original ones. In time, production of replica became speculative and harmful for numismatics; therefore its issue was restricted in 1890.

Another section of the display presents gold coins which were ranked as a reward from the tsar. Such coins became a particular type of a sovereign’s reward for the feat of arms in Russia beginning from the mid 16th century.

In the early 18th century, the reward of gold and gilded coins for the feat of arms was replaced by medals and orders. This transition period is reflected in coin-shaped rewards of 1702 with the image of Peter I.

The last section is devoted to the imperial gold coins in currency. It both reveals the history of gold coins’ circulation in the 18th – early 20th century Russia and encourages visitors to discover the history of the Romanov dynasty itself – that is the succession to the throne, dynastic overthrows, heraldry and symbolism, change of style in art and many other important historical events.