Russian overstruck coins


Project still in progress.


Russian overstruck coins were a common thing in 1700s. In the early 1700s when Peter I decided to change the Russian currency to decimal coinage, a lot of silver and copper were needed. As Russia struggled to source enough silver for her own coinage, foreign coins were imported to temporary solve this problem. The first sign of this was in 1655 where German thalers, Spanish patagons and other foreign coins were countermarked. Some of these coins were then overstruck.

This soon became an easy solution to remove coins that were no longer suited for circulation as it was cheaper than melting down coins and make new planchets. There might have been some politics involved such as increasing the denomination due to massive inflation. Another reason might be to remove the previous Tsar / Tsarina image as soon as possible from circulation. This however meant that coins looked "uglier" or unique as underlying image impacted the overall look. Some overstruck coins can be interesting as the original host coins might have started out to be uncommon, making it rarer than other coins. In fact, all overstruck coins are unique which makes this section very quite interesting. This practice stopped in the early 1800s as Russia increased mining production and minting technology improved.


Standard 2 kopek versus an overstruck coin - makes it look like it's got wings on the horse!


There's a fair bit of overstruck coins and this is just a brief illustration of what is out there. Hope you enjoy!


All plates are from Uzdenikov's book published in 1994.


Note: you can click on all photos to enlarge them.

Copper overstruck coinage Comments 
First known overstruck coins for general circulation is the 1724 kopek. 1724 kopek is REALLY scarce and are not easy to obtain. Have only seen them in auction houses for over 1000-2000USD.   
A fair number of early Elizabeth I denga and polushka (1730-5) were overstruck. Denga were overstruck over Peter I kopek as well as the illusive 1724 kopek. Denga overstruck over 1724 kopek usually command a lot higher in price. (second picture)


Poluskha overstruck over 1728-29 Moscow kopek.

Known as the Baroque kopek or the eagle in cloud, most were overstruck over Peter I 5 kopek coins. Most of these coins were used as planchets for 1757-62 2 kopeks. Might be able to find a reasonable example for 200USD or so.

1757-1762 2 kopek are mostly overstruck over Baroque kopek or under Peter I 5 kopek. One of the most affordable examples - should be able to find one for 20 dollars or so.

Peter III copper coinage used previous coins to be overstruck. New coinage is to change the denomination to twice as much as there was a critical copper shortage. It was soon eliminated next year to be overstruck again with new Catherine II design. Not many survived and hence are pricy in any condition. Peter III 1 kopek coin in particular is the toughest to find.

Warning: there are some high quality counterfeits coming out in the market recently with regards to this series. Buy with caution!!!

Note: not all Peter III coins are overstruck - my 4 kopek coin seems to be struck in fresh planchet.

Hard to tell but this is a low grade overstruck 1762 Peter III 2 kopek.
Under Catherine II, most of Peter III copper coinage was reoverstruck. This type of overstruck coinage should be plentiful especially overstruck Catherine II 5 kopek and 2 kopek. One kopek and denga is another story.


Cipher series is another one off series like Peter III coinage, struck only in 1796. All of the Cipher series coins are rare and expensive as most of them are overstruck again under Paul I recoinage.  
Known as Paul I overstrike recoinage, it was overstruck over Cipher series. Overstruck in a few mints with a few older dies, 1793 EM being the most common of all.   Other dates are relatively uncommon and expensive but if you are hunting for a 1793 EM 5 kopek, might be able to obtain one in between 100-200USD in reasonable condition. 1793 EM 2 kopek however will cost probably twice as much.



The easiest silver overstruck coin you can find might be Elizabeth I ruble coin (1742-44) over Ioann III coins. Except it costs more than 2000 dollars... Don't think I need to comment on the other coins as they are way out of league.

Interestingly enough, foreign planchets in particular from the Spanish-Netherlands were used.
Peter III coinage didn't last too long - it lasted for just one year. As far as I know, this kind of overstruck coins can be difficult to find.


Overstruck Sadagura coinage  Comments 
Sadagura coinage (1772-74) was recalled by Moscow Mint to be overstruck in 1795. All Moscow coins struck in 1795 are considered to be scarce as Moscow Mint didn't operate frequently: it overstruck coins back in 1788-89. Dies are reengraved from 1788/89 dies. Moscow Mint not only overstruck Sadagura coinage - it also overstruck other unusable coinage that weren't overstruck. No idea about price - can be in terms of thousand.



Pattern, unusual overstrike coinage Comments 
There are some coins that missed an overstrike process which was then overstruck in a much later overstriking event. Personally I don't think it would dramatically raise the price but again, you'll never know.
There are some rare pattern coins that used a previous coin to be overstruck. Very rare and probably only found in auctions and museums.


Uncatalogued / unconfirmed overstrike coinage



Not mentioned in a lot of catalogue, some Elizabeth I 1757-62 kopek were overstruck over Swedish 1 ore coins. There's no record of what mint overstruck such coins but I'm suspecting Sestroretsk Mint. Relatively scarce.

1764-1767 CM coins. Sestroretsk Mint recorded that it overstruck coins but it seems from the examples seen, all coins from this time are NOT overstruck. If you have a clear overstruck example, you might have a winner. 


1802 2 kopek might be overstruck over Elizabeth II coins.


If you have any amazing overstruck coins, please let me know!

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Last updated: 15 September, 2012