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“For the Public Benefit…”
To commemorate the 300 anniversary of the monetary system of Peter I

September 26, 2000 - February 25, 2001

The exhibition intended to outline the history of the establishment and development of the monetary system in the 18th-19th centuries features articles of numismatic art of Russia and other Eastern and West-European countries connected with the 300 anniversary of the monetary reform of Peter I. The monetary reform of Peter I refers to the number of the most significant changes that took place in Russia in the early 18th century.

The reform was aimed at creating the monetary system that would satisfy political and economic conditions of the new era. The monetary reform of Peter I started from issuing in circulation copper coins of machine make having the smallest nominal value of a “den’ga”, “polushka”, “polupolushka”. The population learned about their appearance from the texts of the tsar’s decrees hanging in different busy places and public gatherings describing and depicting the “newly made” coins. In the course of the reform a flexible system of nominals was introduced. It included golden coins (a 10-roubles coin (“chervonets”), since 1718 a two-roubles coin); siver coins (a rouble coin, half a rouble coin (“poltina”), quarter a rouble coin (“polupoltina”), a 10-copecks coin (“grivennik”), a 3-copecks coin (“altyn”); copper coins (a 5-copecks coin (“pyatak”), a 1-copeck coin (“kopeika”) and fractions of a copeck).

In the first years of the 18th century two mints provided with equipment from abroad were opened in Moscow - in the Kremlin and in Kadashevskaya sloboda (village). In 1724 in the building of Berg-collegia (mine-office) not far from the city foundery of Saint Petersburg the first roubles with abbreviations “SPb” were coined. Then the dream of Peter I to built up a perfect mint in the new capital of the Russian Empire was put into being. Lack of experienced engravers in the mints forced to invite foreign medalliers in the service to Russia. Training of coiners - medalliers, engravers, mechanical engineers - started in Russia.

A significant result of the monetary reform of Peter I in the 18th century became an introduction in Russia of the new cultural custom of rewarding decorative and issuing commemorative medals. During the first period of work of the Kadashevskiy mint apart from the first golden and silver coins the first Russian medals were minted. Assimilation of the new European custom was helped by the old Russian tradition of the pre-Peter’s time to decorate warriors with conferred golden coins. The first decorative medals were minted for the participants of the victorious battles of the Russian army. Searching to inform Europe of the Russian victories Peter I commissioned a famous medallier from Augsburg F.G.Mueller to strike a series of commemorative medals devoted to the defeat of Sweden in the Northern War.

Currency system reformed by Peter I existed in Russia without any significant changes till the late 19th century when the golden standard was introduced.

Moscow rouble
Larger view

Moscow rouble
Larger view



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