Soviet coins: years, METAL, trial strikes

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Joined: 28-Aug-2016
Posts: 117
There are some important issues related to the representation of the Soviet circulation coins on the Numista catalog:
1) Circulation year vs coinage year
2) Metal
3) Trial strikes.
Let’s start from the last; the majority of trial strikes (to be exact, all the pre-1958 strikes) are overlooked by Krause. Neither are these listed on Numista.
Here are a few pages (their lists are not 100% identical) where you can see their images (the text is in Russian, you can google-translate the pages):
Circulation year: there are two notable cases.
1) The 1921-1923 series of coins with the Russian Federation coat of arms. I think it should be expressly mentioned on the Numista catalog that these were put in circulation only in 1924 (along with the coins with the Soviet Union coat of arms), at the last stage of the monetary reform. Up until then, the situation largely resembled that in the modern Cuba: new “convertible” banknotes circulated along with the old hyperinflated ones, while the coins were struck but kept for future use.
2) The 1931-1934 series of coins (10, 15 and 20 kopecks) was put in circulation only in 1932, to replace the previous .500 silver series. See the government decree for reference:
The largest issue is with metals.
Krause refers to the yellow metal coins between 1926 and 1957 (1, 2, 3 and 5 kopecks) as aluminum-bronze, and so does the Numista catalog. See for example:
In 1961, during the currency reform, the alloy was changed (the difference in metal hue is very well visible for a naked eye, especially when coins degrade), but ironically, Krause still refers to the post-reform 1, 2, 3 and 5 kopeck coins as aluminum-bronze.
Numista follows Krause with regard to the pre-1961 coins, but is inconsistent with regard to the post-reform ones: 1 and 2 kopecks are listed as “brass”, while 3 and 5 kopecks as “aluminum-bronze”:
The Russian (and Soviet) catalogs, as well as official publications, disagree with Krause. They list the pre-1961 coins as “bronze” or “brass”; the post-1961 coins are listed as copper-zinc alloy.
The information about the white metal coins (10, 15, 20 kopecks, since 1961 – also 50 kopecks and 1 ruble) is also contradictory. The difference is visible, especially for degraded coins (the 1931-1934 series is soft, dull-grey and easily wears out; the coins between 1935 and 1957 are greyish-white, easily deformable and tend to develop black-coloured corrosion; the post-1961 coins are shining in XF condition, white with soft yellowish hue, tend to develop a greenish hue, or brown when corroded).
Krause lists the 1931-1957 white coins as copper-nickel, and the post-1961 coins as copper-nickel-zinc.
The Soviet and Russian catalogs provide different information (pre-1961 / post-1961):
Government decree, 1932 : Ni / no info
Shchelokov, 2nd ed, 1989 — Ni alloy/Cu-Ni;
Ganichev, 1989 — no info / Cu-Ni;
Yakovlev, 1989 — no info / Cu-Ni;
Adrianov, 2001 — melchior /Cu-Ni; (it is hard to understand what he meant because “Melchior” is a generic name for a Cu-Ni alloy)
Sokolov & Kalyuzhny, 2002 – Ni / Cu-Ni
Adrianov, 2nd ed, 2005 — Melchior /Cu-Ni;
Mernikov, 2012 — Cu-Ni/Cu-Ni;
Konros, 42 ed, 2016 — Cu-Ni/Cu-Ni-Zn;
Fedorin, 2nd ed, 2004 — melchior/Cu-Ni;
Ryabtsevich, 2nd ed, 1978 — Ni/Cu-Ni.

Does anyone have more detailed information?
My (still modest) collection:
Joined: 28-Aug-2016
Posts: 117
I started adding Soviet trial strikes to the catalog; their number is immense (several dozens, with design variarions).
I had doubts about the right for use of their images; however, the Civil Code of Russia overrides private copyright regarding the images of coins - see Art. 1259, par. 6, sub. 2:
and declares the latter not subject to copyrighting.
My (still modest) collection:
Joined: 6-Apr-2013
Posts: 251
Good question about the alloy of the Soviet kopeks. I'll try to find some official documents.

As for the colour, 10-50 kopeks 1961-1991 look exactly like copper-nickel-zinc coins of other countries. Pre-reform issues look like copper-nickel or just nickel; it's hard to see the diference. - Coins of CIS and Baltic Countries, Coins of Central and South America

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