By Chris Chatigny and Bruce Walker – Numismatists & Catalogers, Stack’s Bowers Galleries ……
We have another exceptional gold coin to preview from our upcoming Stack’s Bowers Galleries ANA World’s Fair of Money auction which will be held in Anaheim, California this August. This coin is an extremely rare commemorative issue celebrating the 40th birthday of Russian Tsar Nicholas II.
At the time of this coin’s production in 1908, the Russian Empire had begun its decline. The Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) was a disaster for Russia. It culminated with the Battle of Tsushima when, after steaming 16,000 miles across the globe, nearly the entire Russian Baltic Fleet was destroyed. Losing a military conflict to the Japanese inflicted enormous damage to the prestige of the Tsarist government, both at home and abroad. It also greatly damaged the Russian economy, and led directly to the Revolution of 1905 wherein social unrest spread throughout the empire. The revolution was finally put down in June 1907, but not before the establishment of the State Duma, the multi-party system, and the Russian Constitution of 1906, all of which would have been unthinkable only a few years earlier.
Yet at the time this coin was struck, all of the pomp and royal privilege of the Tsarist autocracy was still intact, at least as far as coinage was concerned.
The piece offered here is the single-finest-graded example seen by PCGS and NGC, and is one of only four submissions for the date. While 1896-dated pieces struck for Nicholas’ coronation also exist, they are not as coveted as the 1908-dated coins. With the piece presented here being the very finest graded example, and quite possibly the finest extant as well, the desirability of this Proof cannot be overemphasized. The mirrored fields are nearly flawless, with deep hard ice reflectivity. The portrait is also virtually flawless, and retains the regal qualities first employed on Nicholas II’s coinage a dozen years earlier at his coronation. Bright yellow gold and beaming luster enhance the appeal of this fantastic piece that is certain to draw considerable bidding action.
We are now accepting consignments of world and ancient coins for our August 2016 ANA Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our August 2016 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.