Born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili in what is today Georgia, Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) is arguably the most prolific mass murderer in history. He had a hand in the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery, the Great Famine of 1932-3, the deaths at the gulags, and the brutal Great Purge of 1937-8. As many as 30 million people in the former Soviet Union died as a result of his brutality.
The White Russian Banknote The Russian Revolution, which began in 1917, pitted the Bolsheviks, or Reds, against forces loyal to the Tsar—the so-called White Army. After the 1918 execution of the royal family, a corps of White Army soldiers, led by Baron Wrangel, besieged the city of Tsaritsyn, whose military chairman was Joseph Stalin. Under Stalin’s savvy leadership, the Reds repelled Wrangel and his troops. The city of Tsaritsyn along the Volga River was subsequently named Stalingrad. This 50 kopeck banknote—featuring the double-eagle crest of the Romanov family—was printed for the White Army by the American Banknote Company; there were U.S. troops helping the White Army along the Volga at the time. In 1920, Wrangel fled Russia, never to return; Stalin’s Reds had prevailed.
The “Death Sentence” Silver Coin In 1930, in the midst of an economic crisis, Stalin decided that all hard-currency silver coins in circulation would be replaced by base-metal copper/ nickel coins. This met with resistance, as people began to hoard the silver coins, and the bankers responsible for their confiscation were not as successful as Stalin expected. To motivate the collectors, he went to his get-to strategy for problem solving: mass murder.
“The results of the battle against the coin shortage are almost nonexistent,” Stalin wrote to his protégé, V.M. Molotov. The agents “probably clamped down on a few cashiers and let it go at that... It is thus important to a) fundamentally purge the Finance [Ministry] and Gosbank (Central Bank) bureaucracy. b) Definitely shoot two or three dozen from these [bureaucracies], including several dozen common cashiers; c) continue [Secret Police] operations throughout the USSR that are aimed at seizing” the silver. This 20 kopek silver coin is one of the few, rare survivors of this period. The Soviets never again issued a circulating silver coin.
Monetary system: 1 ruble = 100 kopeks
Minted in two types. Both featured the hammer and sickle arms. From 1921-23 the coins were inscribed with the initials for RFSFR (Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic). After the end of the Russian Civil War in 1923, the nation’s name was changed to USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). Coins minted from 1924-1930 had the new initials.
Coins and banknotes are packaged in a handsom e leatherette folder, along w ith story and certificate of authenticity . Album open m easures: 11” x 7.5” ; Album folded m easures: 5.5” x 7.5”.
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