History of Russian Currency and Paper Money (RUBLE)
According to the most popular version, the word “rouble” is derived from the Russian verb руби́ть (rubit’), meaning to chop.
The ruble has been the Russian unit of currency for about 500 years. From 1710, the ruble was divided into 100 kopeks.
Русский: Банкнота “петенька” достоинством 500 рублей образца 1912 года. Россия. Лицевая сторона с изображением императора Петра Первого.
Естественные цвета с максимальным разрешением. На правом клапане купюры нет никакого изображения, только белая бумага без различимых водяных знаков (не отсканировано, поскольку размер купюры больше А4).
English: Russian Empire banknote 500 rubles. Version of 1912 year. Front. With Tzar Peter I portrait.
The amount of precious metal in a ruble varied over time. In a 1704 currency reform, Peter I standardized the ruble to 28 grams of silver. While ruble coins were silver, there were higher denominations minted of gold and platinum. By the end of the 18th century, the ruble was set to 4 zolotnik 21 dolya (almost exactly equal to 18 grams) of pure silver or 27 dolya (almost exactly equal to 1.2 grams) of pure gold, with a ratio of 15:1 for the values of the two metals. In 1828, platinum coins were introduced with 1 ruble equal to 77⅔ dolya (3.451 grams).
On 17 December 1885, a new standard was adopted which did not change the silver ruble but reduced the gold content to 1.161 grams, pegging the gold ruble to the French franc at a rate of 1 ruble = 4 francs. This rate was revised in 1897 to 1 ruble = 2⅔ francs (0.774 grams gold).
With the outbreak of the First World War, the gold standard peg was dropped and the ruble fell in value, suffering from hyperinflation in the early 1920s.
|Russia 500 Rubles 1912|
Item Code: RU-500-1912
|Five hundred rubles featuring Peter the Great and a personification of Mother Russia, 1912Front: Effigy of Czar Peter I, The Great in battle suit. Seated allegoric woman symbolising Mother Russia. Back: Arms. Watermark: Effigy of Czar Peter I, The Great.|
|Dimensions: 272 x 126 mm|
Texts: Gosudarstvennyi Kreditnyi Bilet. Pyat’sot Rublei. Five Hundred Roubles. 1. Razmen gosudarstvennykh
Russia 1912 Bank Note 500 Rubles Paper Money Koshin Pick 14A
Names of different denominations
In the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, several coins had individual names:
- ¼ kopek – polushka
- ½ kopek – denga or dénezhka
- 2 kopek – semishnik (mostly disappeared by 20th century), dvúshka (20th century) or grosh
- 3 kopek – altyn (not in use anymore by the 1960s)
- 5 kopek – pyaták
- 10 kopek – grívennik
- 15 kopek – pyatialtýnny (5 altyn; the usage lived longer than altyn)
- 20 kopek – dvugrívenny (2 grivenniks)
- 25 kopek – polupoltínnik (half poltínnik) or chetverták (from the Russian for ¼)
- 50 kopek – poltína or poltínnik
The amount of 10 roubles (in either bill or coin) is sometimes informally referred to as a chervonets. Historically, it was the name for the first Russian three-rouble gold coin issued for general circulation in 1701. The current meaning comes from the Soviet golden chervonets (сове́тский золото́й черво́нец), issued in 1923. It was equivalent to the pre-revolution 10 gold roubles. All these names are no longer in use, however. The practice of using the old kopek coin names for amounts in roubles is not very common today. In modern Russian slang only these names are used:
- 1 rouble – tselkóvy (целко́вый), meaning “entire” or “whole” (це́лый)
- 5 roubles – pyatyórka (пятёрка), pyaták (пята́к), pyatachyók (пятачо́к)
- 10 roubles – chírik (чи́рик), “chervónets” (черво́нец) or desyátka (деся́тка)
- 50 roubles – poltínnik (полти́нник) with some variants like poltishók (полтишо́к), pyótr (Пётр) from picture of monument to the Peter I shown on a bill
- 100 roubles – stólnik (сто́льник), sótka (сотка)
- 500 roubles – pyatikhátka (пятиха́тка), originally pyatikátka (пятика́тка)
- 1,000 roubles – kosár (коса́рь), shtúka (шту́ка) or a hybrid shtukár (штукарь), tónna (то́нна) (mostly in St. Petersburg)
- 1,000,000 roubles – limón (лимо́н), lyam (лям)
The sixth term derived from “пять кать” (five Catherines). Katya (Катя, Catherina), having been a slang name for the 100 rouble note in tsarist Russia, was used as the note had a picture of Catherine II on it.
The biggest denomination note, as of September 2009, is 5000 roubles, so all the higher amount nicknames refer to amount and not the coin or banknote.
Warning: Most of these definitions, i.e., chirik, poltos, pyatikatka, and kosar, come from jail slang (Fenya). It is quite a vulgar manner of speaking and should be treated with caution.