RUSSIA, USSR, 1 ruble, 1938


RUSSIA, USSR, 1 ruble, 1938, Face: miner, P213, Unc

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Common note, but difficult in uncirculated.

Coin collection was illegal in the Soviet Union. It was defined as anti-social hoarding. The coins all went into hiding for seventy years. But banknotes were OK to collect because they had all been demonetized and weren’t worth anything.

Russia started making paper money in the 18th century. Generally speaking, during the Empire the relationship of paper to gold was, shall we say, fraught. There was a great outpouring of local notes during the Revolution and the Civil War, and again in the last years of the Soviet Union and a few years after.

Aside from China, other governments started using circulating “banknotes” starting in the 17th century AD. The practice became general in the 19th century. In the 20th century value of paper money in circulation far surpassed the value of coinage. In the 21st century paper money is fading and credit transactions are growing.

Paper money, meaning the promise of a government to pay a set amount, and the paper promise allowed to circulate at will, was probably first used in China in the 12th century AD. At that time the merchants and governments of Europe were just writing letters to each other about what they owed.