Spitsbergen coinage - 1946, 1993, 1998

 

 

Spitsbergen or Spitzbergen (misspelt by the English) is a large island owned by Norway. In 1932, a Soviet company Arktikugol (literally - Arctic Coal) bought rights to mine coal. In 1941, mining operation stopped as workers were relocated to Soviet Union due the World War II. Mining operation resumed in 1946 and it is presumed that coins were issued for the public. New coins were issued when the Russian ruble was redenominated in 1993 and 1998. In total, 14 coins were issued excluding non circulating commemorative coins.

 

Spitsbergen coins are interesting - why was there a need to issue different coinage for this mining town? Perhaps it is to ensure that once coins were sent to Spitsbergen, they were never to be returned back to Soviet Union.

 

As of how easy or difficult it is to assemble this set - 1993 coins are the easiest followed by 1946. 1998 coins for some reason have vanished from the market and can prove to be very difficult as well as expensive.  

 

 

1946

10, 15, 20, 50 kopek  

Struck in Leningrad mint

First issued in 1946 in four denomination.  As of why only these four types of coins were struck instead of the eight struck for Soviet Union (1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 50 kopek), I have no idea why.  Maybe all prices were rounded to the nearest 10 kopek but that doesn't explain the need for 15 kopek...

10 kopek 15 kopek
20 kopek 50 kopek

 

 

 

1993

10,  25, 50, 100 ruble

Struck in Moscow Mint

These Spitsbergen coins caused a huge uproar with the Norwegians. As the islands of the Svalbard archipelago belongs to Norway, putting "Russian Federation" on the coins caused controversies. These coins were supposedly withdrawn.  Note that 25 ruble coin was never issued for circulation in Russia.

10 ruble 25 ruble 
50 ruble 100 ruble

 

 

 

1998 

0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 5 (token) 

Struck in St. Petersburg Mint

Note that in this series, there is no word of the denomination "ruble" as well as "Russian Federation". Instead it has the word "razmyennii znak" (sign). These coins were likely issued after the redenomination of the ruble in 1998. It is also likely that these coins rarely circulated and mintage are very low on these coins. Note that there is never a 25 kopek coin released for circulation in Russia. Mintage is suspected to be very low on these coins.

0.1 razmyennii znak 0.25 razmyennii znak  0.5 razmyennii znak
1 razmyennii znak  2 razmyennii znak  5 razmyennii znak