The Ruble: Currency of Emperors and Workers

collecting silver rubles


Welcome, you’ve found our article on the Russian ruble. This article will cover ruble history, collecting rubles, and more. We will be focusing more on the history related to the silver ruble minted during the reign of various Czars. The history of the silver ruble tracks some of the most turbulent times in Russia’s history, making the coins more desired by collectors.

In The Beginning

The ruble is an important part of the turbulent history that is Russia. This essay will explore the history of the ruble and Russia’s role as a nation. As well as the events which brought this country into the 21st century. In order to understand Russia as a country, you need to go back to The Grand Duchy of Moscow. It emerged as a political, economic, and military force in The Far East, in the area known as the Caucasus.

Before that though, for over 300 years, Russia had been under the yolk of Mongol overlords. This period is known as Tartar China: The Subjugation of The Russian people by the Central Asian nomads of The Eastern Steppes. It was only during the reign of one man, whose name has since become synonymous with evil, sadism, insanity, pure cruelty, madness, and murder that things ironically began to change for the better in Russia.


This man was the first Czar of Russia Ivan IV. He is better known by his nickname in English, Ivan the Terrible. Ivan was responsible for enlarging the Grand Duchy of Moscow exponentially. He did this from the time he was 30 years old until his last days as a Czar. During this time, the Russian Ruble became one of the most important and sought-after currencies outside of continental Europe. It should be noted that the Ruble has been in use since the 14th century. It was only at the beginning of the 18th century that the Ruble itself became relevant. Though in use long before 1704, it was considered a nonutilized unit of account.

Russias Culture

What one must take into consideration about this time in Russia’s history. Is this was not the Russia we know today. Russia was a far smaller territory at this time than the current landmass that spans the length of two continents.

Russia at this time was a multicultural swathe of people. It had a multitude of customs, faiths, attitudes, beliefs, and ways. When compared to other countries in Europe, Russia was far too powerful for any country to be successful in invading. History has shown that even a weak and vulnerable Russia is a giant that should not be provoked. Even under the most opportunistic and idealized circumstances.

Silver Ruble

The ruble was often minted in silver. This would require materials to be mined and mixed to produce the various ruble coins. They would get these materials from anywhere they could find a good supply of copper and silver. This could be as close to Moscow Oblast or as far away as necessary. The Ruble was predominately minted in silver. It was in use between the late 17th century to the early 19th century.

The material used to make it as mentioned earlier at this time changed from copper to mostly silver around 1833, but this would be the last significant change to the currency within Russia for almost a century, and nothing could possibly prepare the Russian people or the world for the catastrophe that would happen in 1917:

russia poltina
Russian Poltina/Half Ruble: Collecting Rubles can be a fun hobby for people who love Russian history.
collecting rubles
Rubles from this time period often come at a higher price point when compared to similar coins from different countries in the same time period. This makes collecting rubles a bit more of an expensive collection.

Czar Alexander II

When the Romanov dynasty came to power, it was up to them to hold on to the vast amounts of land. As well as the great amounts of economic production that the common Russians relied upon. The Czar’s relied on the Cossacks to keep order and force the Russian people to pay taxes and give a good portion of what they made to the government.

Even though the peasants were finally freed in 1861 by Czar Alexander II, there was still an exceptional amount of resentment and lack of trust for the Czar, his family, the government, and the upper-class people in general. During this time, The Ruble was still a strong currency as it had been throughout the previous centuries. This was in large part due to the international influence that Russia maintained not just in mainland Europe, but in Alaska and still to a degree in the American Northwest just as they had in the late 18th century.

throughout the reign of the czars, the peasants had barely enough to even feed their families or enough rubles to buy bread and the basic necessities. During the centuries, The Czar’s and the aristocracy of Russia profited off of the labor that the peasants and lower class citizens produced, and though the Czar and the aristocrats grew exceptionally wealthy and powerful, the peasants starved.

Soviet Russia

The Red October of 1917 was an event that would have extreme consequences. Between 1917-1992, the Ruble became a Soviet currency and a symbol of the corrupt communist regime. This period of time would need its own essay. The likes of which are far too long to cover in just one article. It wasn’t until Boris Yeltsin and the Russian Federation came to power in 1992, that the Ruble would change from a communist currency into the ruble we know today. It should be noted that collecting rubles from Soviet Russia also has a decent following alongside the other forms of rubles.

With the conflict in Ukraine over the recent years, the Rouble’s value and economic importance have taken a significant hit. Mostly due to international sanctions from other governments. Other countries are in need of Russian oil and other resources. know that they cannot impose any sanctions against Russia. This includes but is not limited to Russia’s currency.


Final Thoughts

In summary, Russia is a complex country with a lengthy and difficult history. Through studying the economic patterns, and how the Ruble has been able to endure as a currency despite turbulent internal and external hardships. We will be able to know Russia as a country and political trade partner. Without understanding Russia’s history and its currency, its economic trends, and its political motifs, it is difficult to know why the country is the way it is.

It is tough to describe Russia in only a certain number of words, and yet despite her complexity, one can’t help but see a certain simplicity and rudimentary universal truth. Russia regardless of what government she has, no matter the attitudes of her rulers, despite her economic standing in the world or lack thereof on the world stage, one truth remains. Regardless of what sort of state financially or otherwise Russia is in. Her currency serves as a definitive testament to her tenacity as an economic power with a very lengthy and unique history.

Collecting Rubles

We do our best to carry various Eastern European coins including various rubles from various times in Russian history. Below is the link to our Eastern European coins made of silver we have for sale. We are a great source for people interested in collecting rubles. We predominately carry silver rubles since we specialize in gold and silver coins.

Published by Invest in History Co.

We specialize in high-quality gold and silver coins. Focusing on Middle East, Eastern European, and Ancient coins. We carry Roman, Greek, Parthian, Phoenician, Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Jewish, Islamic, and many other culture's coins.

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