100 Greatest Women On Coins Series: The Russian Royal Family

While this series so far has highlighted specific women or figures, this entry will look a little different. However, do not be fooled by the title as the woman behind the curtain is on full display and recognized as a highly important figure. As it sits in the upper portion of the top 100 list we explore in this blog series published by Whitman Publishing and authored by Ron Guth, the rarity of the coin this family sits on does not go unnoticed. We aim to explore the family listed in this celebrated 100 Greatest series.

#73 - The Russian Royal Family

The Russian royal family of Emperor Nicholas I all started with a politically arranged marriage between a princess from Prussia and one Nicholas Pavlovich of Russia. Born Princess Frederica Louis Charlotte Wilhelmina of Prussia in July of 1798 to the King of Prussia, Charlotte was promised to Nicholas in 1814. The couple was married by 1817 but never thought for one second that Nicholas would become emperor as he was third in line behind his brothers Alexander I and Konstantin Pavlovich. However, things changed when their father and king died. His oldest brother Alexander died in 1825 and Konstantin refused the throne. Nicholas was then crowned emperor.

By the time the family was featured on the “Family Roubles” coin in 1835, Nicholas I’s wife and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna had already given birth to 11 children. However, four of those children died in infancy or were stillborn. The couple and their seven living children were featured on the coin. Nicholas was depicted in profile on the obverse while Alexandra and their children were featured on the reverse. Their seven children, from oldest to youngest: Alexander II, Maria, Olga, Alexandra, Konstantin, Nicholas, and Michael. When the coin was produced in 1835, their eldest child, Alexander II, was 17 years old and their youngest, Michael, was three years old.

Although Alexandra was ill a lot due in large part to her numerous pregnancies, she would outlive her husband by five years. Nicholas died in 1855 and their oldest son, Alexander II, would become emperor of Russia. Their daughter Maria would become the Duchess of Leuchtenberg of Germany but would live in Russia. Daughter Ogla became the Queen of Württemberg of Germany and Alexandra became the princess of Hesse of Germany but would end up dying before she could move there. Son Konstantin was an admiral in the Russian Navy while Nicholas was a field marshal in the Russian Army. Youngest son Michael would serve as the governor-general of Caucasia.

Guth describes the collecting difficulty of these coins as‘ extremely difficult.’ There are five different types of roubles featuring the Russian Royal Family and all of them are rare. Russian coins are also said to have increased drastically in value over the years. Most collectors find these coins out of reach.