Calgary Coin

Wire Money of Peter the Great

Fake Russian Wire Money

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 :

peter the great reverse inscription

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).

peter inscriptions

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 :

1) The first part of the inscription which reads CZAR AND GRAND PRINCE is common to most Russian wire money back to the later 1500's, so finding only that part visible does not tell you which Czar you have.

2) If you can read PETR or part of PETR, it can only be Peter the Great as he was the only Czar named Peter. Please note that on many specimens the T in PETR has elongated down strokes on the edges, making it look more like an M than a T.

3) Peter the Great Kopecs are very small, normally be under 0.3 grams. Most earlier coins are over 0.3 grams, so checking the weight is helpful if Peter's name is not visible.


Copyright   2008   R & T Enterprises Ltd.