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On the Novodel Coins (I. Spassky)

Novodels are copies of old Russian coins which were manufactured by mints for over 200 years. The majority of them come from the St. Petersburg mint (eighteenth and nineteenth centuries) and the Ekaterinburg mint (nineteenth century). It is also possible that the Moscow mint took part in their manufacture during the eighteenth century. The manufacture of novodels arose from the legalized practice of making medals to order. In St. Petersburg this was common immediately after the mint started work again in 1738. In the same way as the cracked medal dies were replaced by new ones, a small number of coin dies were recopied and kept in store in anticipation of fresh orders. In time this led to the appearance of various "hybrids": the more fanciful among them were manufactured illegally by workmen in the mint, who had access to the dies. The novodels had some weak points as far as their technical aspects were concerned (dimensions, weight, metal, standard, edges). As a rule edging instruments did not survive.

It is possible to divide novodels into the following groups (not counting the "hybrid" combinations): (1) late stamping with authentic dies;

(2) stamping with copies of dies; (3) re-stamping with dies cut after previously issued coins, or even after their reproductions in books; (4) copying of coins which were produced by mints other than the one involved: (5) striking with "borrowed" dies; (6) the manufacture of coins which did not exist before.

A great many die-copies of all types were destroyed in St. Petersburg circa 1840, but since then there were two huge issues of novodels in Ekaterinburg, which included coins from other mints as well. Perhaps one of the first "invented" novodels is the denga of Peter the Great, bearing a Latin inscription and dating from 1700. The manufacture of novodel coins was officially prohibited in the 1870s.

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