|Medieval Russian Silver Coins - Wire Silver Kopek|
|Russian Silver kopek|
Obverse: The Tsar as St. George on horse, killing dragon with spear in his right hand. Mint initials (ГР) below.
Reverse: Inscription ("Czar and Grand Prince Ivan of Entire Rus") in five lines.
Legend: "ЦРЬИ / КНSЬВЕ / ЛИКIИВА / НЬВСЕIA / РУСИ" ("Царь и Князь Великий Иван Всея Руси")
Mint Place: Pskov (ГР)
Mint Period: 1547-1584
Diameter: 14 mm; Weight: 0.68 gram of Silver
These are irregular shapes of metal, each stamped with the mark of the issuer. The term "wire money" comes from the minting technique. Coins were made from rolled silver wire which was then cut into sections, depending upon the desired weight. The metal was tempered, then struck into coinage. Earlier issues are quite rare with complete legends and designs as irregular shapes are the norm. And there was no central mint, attested to by the great diversity of coinage from this time period. Mintage was contracted out to a number of silversmiths. The monetary relationship of copper to silver is not known as it fluctuated from time and place. The denomination of the silver coins, "denga", is found only rarely on coins from this period. Subsequently the term "dengi" came to be the Russian word for money. The many images on Russian coinage include human figures, scenes of the hunt and combat, horsemen ("Moscow Arms"), animals and decorative symbols. The inscriptions are in Russian and usually convey the issuing prince's name and patronymic and the legend in later coinage stated "Sovereign of all the Russian lands." The medieval history of Russia was chaotic, to say the least. At the end of the fourteenth century four Great Principalities (including Moscow) dominated the Russian landscape. Tver, Ryazan and Suzdal/Nizhny-Novgorod were all largely independent. Ivan IV (The Terrible) ultimately took the title of "Tsar" and standardized its use by 1547. ("Tsar" is a corruption of the Latin word "Caesar".)