Tsarina Catherine 1766 Rouble coin brings $936,000 at New York Sale



2015-06-26 12:42:23

Tsarina Catherine 1766 Rouble coin brings $936,000 at New York Sale

The New York Sale of rare coins saw some great Russian pieces sold including a 1766 Rouble

Naturally, the extraordinary sale of the $3.8m Pantikapaion stater grabbed most of the headlines following The New York Sale.

However, there were also some very strong results in other categories. In particular, there seemed to be no decline in the Russian numismatic market as prices for top quality, rare items remained high.

Lots 2045 and 2046, an extraordinary pair of 1726 Kopeck Patterns, were extremely valuable and historically significant items. This was the first time both types had been offered together in a public sale (and only the second time that either had been publically offered).

This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors to add one or both of these extraordinarily rare pieces to their collection. The two lots were sold for US$134,550 and US$128,700 respectively.

Tsarina Catherine Rouble Tsarina Catherine portrait with the 1766 Rouble

Lot 2092 was without doubt the star of the show for the Russian section and it sold for US$936,000 and caused quite a stir amongst the numismatic fraternity.

The 1766 Rouble is one of the greatest rarities in the Russian series and was, for the first time, linked to the monumental official painting of the Tsarina by renowned artist Fedor Rokotov (pictured here with the coin).

The Rouble represents a little piece of Russian history. In 1766, it was decided that a new medallic portrait of Catherine was required.

A new Rouble depiction was wanted which spurred the creation of the pattern offered here. Clearly it was officially commissioned as indicated by the Pattern's mintmark and the master's initials.

1766 Pattern Rouble Russian coin The extremely fine 1766 Pattern Rouble Russian coin

Overall, the bust produced for the Pattern seems more realistic than the Ivanov bust for 1766 which would be the approved type. The nose and the chin, though, appear to be a departure from the portraiture of the period.

On official paintings of the time, Catherine is shown with a slightly fleshy nose, while here the engraver has rendered it rather pert and linear, Catherine's chin, meanwhile, does not curve on the pattern bust, but rather slopes straight down.

It has been speculated that Catherine may have viewed the effect as a little severe and dismissed the design, or the pattern may have been immediately rejected at the mint. For whatever reason, the design was not approved and today we are left with but three of these thought-provoking pattern pieces.

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