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Platinum Coins: History, Collecting, Prices

Thursday, 26 February 2009
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Platinum Coins: History, Collecting, Prices
Platinum Coins: History, Collecting, Prices. Part 2

platinum coinsNative platinum as the precious metal is known from ancient times in Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece and South America, but technique of processing was forgotten for long -long periods. First coins in the world from this metal so hard to coin were issued in Russia in 1828-1845 years.

The metal was named in XVI century by the Spanish conquistadors. Platinum is the short for the Spanish «plata» that means «silver».

As an independent metal, platinum was described only in 1752 and was immediately called «white gold». In 1819 in Russia a new Siberian metal was found in the alluvial gold mined in the Urals. Then platinum deposits were discovered at the river Ise that motivated the famous manufacturer Demidov to arrange platinum exploration activities in the region of plants in Nihniy Tagil that belonged to him. And shortly after it was discovered in the deposits along the river Suho-Visim. Yet, mining of platinum took Demidov very cheap: «It wasn't worth even 25 kopek zolotnik (some 4.6 gr) together with gold». Within XIX and XX century Russia took the first place in the world to mine this rare noble metal.

And the year 1911 became the winning: Russia produced almost 93 percents of the world platinum production.

Works on practical use of platinum were conducted in Petersburg.  Minister of Finance and Supervisor of all governmental mining service E.F.Kankrin in 1829 wrote: «At first the art of metal purification was unknown. At last, in the end of 1826 high inspector of the United Laboratory... Sobolevskiy invented very simple, easy and convenient technique of platinum processing, through which within May 12, 1826 till November 1, 1826 about 1 629 kg of raw platinum was purified and forged «.

That time «wet» technique of platinum processing was used when native or «raw» platinum (ore) was diluted in «chloronitric acid». Precipitating chloride platinum and then calcine it, turn the gained substance into the so called spongy platinum (metallic, as powder). Platinum in this form was pressed, and white-hot work material was spread. But the most important, spongy, sintered platinum was pressed, and exactly this explains in the technique by Sobolevskiy why it is called «sintered metallurgy».

Such technique of soft platinum production provoked to adopt it for coining. Firstly, platinum was used for memory plates dedicated to coronation. Thus, in 1826 a memorable platinum token to the event of Nikolay I coronation was issued, and the observe of it has a crowned monogram, and the reverse side has a sign also crowned.

Later on it was decided to issue coins «from pure Ural platinum» as it was stated at the reverse side thereof. And the coins of 3, 6 and 12 roubles (Russian national currency) were made. It took almost fourteen tons of «Demidov» platinum to produce «platinum duplons» (six roubles), «quadrarupli» (coins of 12 roubles value) and three roubles coins.

Introduction of the twelve-fold principle into the decimal Russian monetary system is interpreted by incidents. First of all, by the ratio of prices for platinum and silver of that time, second of all, by the size accepted for platinum coins.

The Decree dated April 24, 1828 it was noted that «between the treasures of the Urals mountain range platinum was discovered that was preliminary was mined exclusively in South America. And for the purpose to sell such a precious stone it is desirable to introduce coins from it».

Platinum coining proceeded in 1828. The first coin was valued in 3 roubles. In 1829 a coin valued in six roubles was produced, and in 1830 another coin - valued in 12 roubles. Issue of such coins was the biggest win of Russian metallurgist that could make coins from refractory platinum, which was not able to be done in the West. Thus, were appeared to be in front of the entire planet...

For coining in 1828-1845 they used native Ural platinum unpurified from admixtures of accompanying elements (osmium, palladium, iridium and others), in view of that the signature at the reverse of such coins «of PURE URAL PLATINUM» should be interpreted only as witness of absence of alloying additions in the metal.

And totally for 18 years it was coined: coin of 3 rouble value - 1 371691 pieces, coin of 6 roubles - 14 847 pieces and coins of 12 roubles - 3 474 pieces. As these findings and the table show, the last mentioned value coins are met rarely, especially coins of 1839-1840 years when only one coin of every mentioned value was issued in 1840 and two coins of every value in 1839. Yet, the set of the year 1840 was bought by the famous numismatist, the Count Tolstoy directly from the St. Petersburg Mint.

Platinum coins of Russia are the only coins in the world, since they were issued for longer time and were assigned for current circulation. At the present platinum coins is either reprint of rare coins to sell to collectors, or issues of memorable coins.

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