Museum complex

The Konstantinovsky ruble (Constantine ruble)

Stamp after the drawing by J.Reichel
St. Petersburg
Showcase 8

This is one of the seven trial rubles with a portrait of Emperor Constantine, minted during the interregnum (November 19 – December 14) before receipt of an official news of the refusal of Cesarevich (Crown Prince) Constantine of the rights to the throne in favor of his younger brother Nicholas.
Two copies of this most famous and most expensive coin are preserved in Russia; one is in the Historical Museum another is in the State Hermitage Museum. It is known that yet another coin is in the Smithsonian Institute in the United States, the rest are in private collections.

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Since interest in this coin does not expire even today, there are acknowledged also quite a number of high-quality replicas (counterfeits) of this ruble in numismatic collections, created not only in the XIX, but also in the XX century.
The Konstantinovsky (Constantine) ruble was created by the medallist of the St.Petersburg mint Jacob Reichel. The minting dies of that ruble were soon destroyed. The Konstantinovsky Ruble is a silver coin with the image of the state emblem of the Russian Empire a two-headed eagle with regalia on one of its sides, surrounded by a wreath of Laurel leaves. Under the eagle, there are 3 letters: SPB – the mark of the Petersburg mint where it was coined. On a circle is an inscription: "The Ruble. Pure silver 4 Zolotnik 21 Dolya" (Zolotnik and dolya are measures of weight). On the other side of the coin is placed a profile portrait of Konstantin Pavlovich. Under the portrait is the date "1825," and in a circle is the inscription: "By the Grace of God Constantine I Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias».
In the history of Russian numismatics, the trial ruble with the image of Cesarevich Constantine is known as a rarity, the interest to which was heated up by the controversial circumstances of the accession of Nicholas I.
On November 19, 1825 the Emperor Alexander I died in Taganrog. His brother Governor of Kingdom of Poland Constantine learning about the incident, rushed from Warsaw to St.Petersburg to confirm his official refusal to the throne in favor of his younger brother, Nikolai (Nicolas) Pavlovich. The refusal was accepted by Alexander I in 1819, at the same time, was compiled a Manifesto, known to a very limited number of close people. This Manifesto was supposed to be announced only after the death of Alexander I, and until then to be kept in a secret place. The news of the death of Alexander has reached St.Petersburg only on 27 November, the Manifesto was read, but Nicholas thought against making it public, especially because by this time he himself and all the military and civilian ranks swore allegiance to Constantine. This started a period of correspondence between brothers which lasted for two weeks which in our history received the name "Interregnum". In this period portraits of the new Emperor were according to tradition presented in public places, coins with the image of Emperor Constantine I were minted, as part of preparations for the coronation celebrations. Only on December 13 Nikolai Pavlovich finally signed the Manifesto of his accession to the throne. In these days was stopped work on striking of the Constantine rubles and were taken measures to their strictest classification. Nicholas I have appointed the re-oath on December 14, as you might know members of the secret political society, later called the Decembrists decided to take advantage of this.