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2021-07-06 Other articles >

The ring of Alexander I

Heavy copper nickel minted in 1807

Ringers - this is the name numismatists gave to copper coins minted during the reign of Alexander I from 1802 to 1810 at the Yekaterinburg and Suzun mints.
The coins got their name for the ring-shaped lines bordering the double-headed eagle on the obverse, and the denomination of the coin on the reverse.
Copper rings were minted in 5 denominations:
  • half a penny (1/4 kopeck);
  • money ½ kopeck;
  • 1 kopeck;
  • 2 kopecks;
  • 5 kopecks.
For better recognition of the denomination of the coin by the population of the Russian Empire, edged dots were minted on the rings of the obverse and reverse - according to the nominal value of 1, 2 and 5 kopecks: at the beginning of the XIX century, the country could not boast of complete literacy - if a scribe could write a petition to a state official, then cash required personal control of their owner, and an illiterate – even more so.
For the coinage of rings, Alexander I, by his Decree of October 1, 1801, extends the validity of the coin stop of 16 rubles from a pood of copper.
A 16-ruble coin stop is a very large coin.
5-kopeck rings had 41-45 mm in diameter and weighed 51 grams, and they were minted in 8 years with a circulation of 10.67 million copies.
In 1810, the minting of coins according to the old coin stop was discontinued – the state switched to a 24-ruble coin stop, the minting of ring rings was stopped and gradually withdrawn from circulation.
However, with the withdrawal of ring rings from circulation, not everything went smoothly.
It is possible to change a nickel weighing 51 grams of copper (16 ruble stop) for a nickel weighing 33.3 grams of copper (24 ruble stop) without loss only if the purchasing power of the coin is in no way related to the price of the metal from which the coin is minted.
The rings, as a full-fledged copper coin, could not avoid comparison with the market price of copper, from which they were minted - especially since by 1821 the price of copper on the market rose to 31 rubles for 1 pood.
In other words, in 1821, when melting a 5-kopeck coin minted in 1807 weighing 51 grams into metal and selling this metal, it would be possible to get copper worth 9.7 kopecks on the market – almost 100% income.
This income was classified as criminal: the Russian Ministry of Finance categorically prohibited the melting of copper coins for the purpose of selling metal.
From the position of modern economic theory, it would be necessary to radically reduce the weight of a 5-kopeck copper coin - as well as other copper coins - and turn a nickel into a change coin torn from the value of copper.
Instead, they did something completely different: copper nickels were withdrawn from circulation and 5 kopecks of a new sample were minted-already from silver, thereby turning the nickels into a full-fledged silver coin.
Today, 200 years after the release of copper rings from circulation, the collectible value of their individual varieties (Small Crown) may exceed the cost of silver coins of that era similar in weight: heavy rings were sent for melting – and increased their rarity for numismatists.

Кольцевик Александра I

5 копеек 1807 г., Россия

Country : Российская империя
Denomination : 5 копейка
Year : 1807
Mint :
Circulation :
Material : Медь
Weight : 51
Diameter : 41-45

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