It was minted by Nicholas II for a mixed currency which included France, Italy and Greece
Last week, Kuenker completed their long anticipated sale of rare Russian Coins, Medals, Orders and Decorations. We focussed in on one clear highlight ahead of the sale:
This was the 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 examples made. This one had 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.
The gold coin sold at the auction is one of the best known and most sought-after Russian coins. An initiative of Napoleon III, the currency union with the French franc as the foundation was decided in 1865 by France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland (with the accession of Greece in 1868).
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. This one was expected to sell for €10,000 ($142,000) and was taken away for a hammer price of exactly that.
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.