Wire Money of Peter the Great
Additional Specimen Additional Specimen #2
Peter the Great ruled from AD 1689 to 1725 and was the last Russian Czar to strike coins in the wire money form. Peter struck wire money to a standard of 0.38 grams until 1698, at which time the standard was lowered to 0.28 grams, and the vast majority of examples we see today are of this lower weight standard. They can be difficult to identify, because the very small size of the coins was far smaller than the dies from which they were struck, and no specimens will show more than a fraction of the total design. This page is designed to help with their identification, but not narrow them down to exact variations of the coins.
In order to identify one wire money type from another, the best place to start is with the reverse inscription, which can be a problem as you are usually only working from fragments of the inscription, which may or may not include any or all of Peter's name. A further problem is that you are looking at old Russian Cyrillic letter forms, and unless you are familiar with them you might have trouble even orienting the coin as to which way is up. To help with this, I have created this composite image of a typical reverse inscription more as it appeared on the dies :
Even using 10 different specimens, a few letters in the corners of this inscription are missing, but there is enough here to work with. Below, as prepared by Mr. Vladimir Belyaev, is how the inscription is read, with the first line showing how it typically appears on the coins, using oblique strokes to indicate the line breaks. The second line shows the words separated, because on the coins there are often no spaces between the words. Both of these lines in old Cyrillic script. The third line shows it translated to modern Cyrillic, and the fourth a translation in English but using Russian grammar (in English grammar it would read as CZAR AND GRAND PRINCE OF ALL RUSSIA, PETER ALEXIOVICH).
Thanks to Mr. Vladimir Belyaev for this information and image.
If you have an example of wire money, by comparing to this image you should be able to confirm its orientation, what part of the inscription is visible, and if it is a Peter the Great inscription. There are a couple of things to keep in mind :
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