The History of Money museum exposition at the Peter and Paul Fortress (Saint Petersburg)28 сентября 2016 года

On July 1, 2016, the opening ceremony of a new exposition dedicated to the Russian currency circulation history took place in Saint Petersburg within the territory of the Peter and Paul Fortress. Anton Siluanov, Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation, and Arkady Trachuk, General Director of Goznak, cut the band in front of the entrance. Among the guests, there were Georgy Luntovskiy, First Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, heads of regional and federal agencies, representatives of the largest museums in Saint Petersburg. On the eve of the official opening, on June 30, a preview of the exposition took place for the participants of the 15th International Financial Congress (Saint Petersburg); Elvira Nabiullina, Head of the Bank of Russia, was among the guests.

The editorial board of The Banknotes of the Countries of the World asked Igor Shiryakov, Doctor of Science (history), Head of the Numismatics Department of the State History Museum, to share his impressions about the new museum and note its most interesting objects.

The year of 2016 has been marked with the appearance of a new museum on the map of Russia. The museum is exceptionally important for our country that has been living in the market economy conditions. I’m speaking about the History of Money exposition in Saint Petersburg, which welcomed the first visitors this summer.

Goznak initiated and financed the museum creation; the company exhibited a lot of most valuable objects from its Special Fund in the exposition. They are true examples of trial coins and banknotes, original sketches of the currency units created by outstanding graphic artists, their samples approved for production with the autographs of the heads of the financial authority of the country, tools from the mints and many other things. Totally, there are over 2.5 thousand objects in the museum exposition; they are supplemented with interactive installations. The complex information and reference system allows the visitors to get an insight of every exposition sector, separate showcases and view the images of small items in high magnification.

The museum is located at Anninskiy Cavalier of the Peter and Paul Fortress. The building was erected in 1771 – 1773 according to the project by B.H. Minich (1683 – 1767), a military engineer, and named after Empress Anna Ioannovna (1693 – 1740). It was at first a part of the defense system. In 1836 – 1837 the Cavalier was rebuilt and adapted for an artillery armory – the stock of trophies and artillery park. In 1961 the building was passed over to the Leningrad Mint; it was used as a warehouse until 2007. After the warehouses of the mint were moved away from the Fortress territory, it became possible to renovate the vacated buildings, and the historical appearance of Anninskiy Cavalier was recovered. Lenproektrestavratsia Institute developed the project. Now the building meets the modern requirements to the museum buildings completely.

The museum exposition includes twelve sectors; nine of them are dedicated to the history of money and currency circulation within the territory of modern Russia from ancient times till the present day. On display, there are authentic pieces of ancient Russia coins – silver coins of Grand Dukes of Kiev, Vladimir Sviatoslavovich (958 – 1015), Sviatopolk Vladimirovich (978 – 1019) called Accursed for the murders of his brothers, Yaroslav Vladimirovich the Wise (978 – 1054), coins of the Russian lands of the times of disunity (the 14th – the beginning of the 16th centuries) – Moscow, Ryazan, Tver, Novgorod kopecks, dengas and half-kopecks put into circulation during the minority of Ivan the Terrible (1533 – 1584) as the money of the centralized Russian state – Muscovy.

Most interesting materials are shown in the sectors dedicated to the most important reforms in Russia of the 18th – 20th centuries. The reform of Peter the Great (who reigned single-handedly in 1696-1725) that ran over two decades is represented with the first in Russia coins of regular minting in gold, silver and copper. There is a very rare chervonets of 1701 issued at Kadashevskiy Mint in Moscow from gold purchased in China. There also a lot of valuable objects reflecting E. Kankrin, S. Vitte, G. Sokolnikov’s reforms. Project drawings of unapproved paper money series developed during preparations to the reforms of 1937, 1948, 1961 and 1992-1993 previously unknown to the general public, trial pieces of gold coins intended to be issued for the event of the 100th anniversary of birth of Vladimir Lenin and other outstanding events, are extremely interesting. Every visitor will remember the modern five-kilogram coins of gold and silver that one can hold in his hands thanks to the special showcase construction. It is very important that the coins and banknote are displayed together with documents and attributes – minting tools, functional models of various mechanisms, containers for storing treasures below ground, printing plates, papermaking grids, household objects.

Three other sectors occupy a special position. One of them reflects the history of the enterprises united into Goznak. Another is dedicated to currency units as works of fine art. Objects of a lady’s holiday clothes of the peoples of Russia created with the help of coins supplement the sector is an interesting way. The third sector narrates the history of counterfeiting.

The work of artists who projected the exposition should be noted particularly. The museum interior is very original (the author has an opportunity to compare it to the interiors of other Russian and foreign museums of the same trend). The premises are spacious enough to avoid bunching of objects. The whole organization of space invites one to enjoy studying the unique exposition deliberately.

Since July 4, 2016, the History of Money exposition has been working according to a temporary schedule. One can visit it only as part of an organized group by previous appointment (+ 7 (812) 324-1468). Later on, the exposition will be opened for individual visitors too. The museum will inform about the start of working with individuals additionally.

Source: «Банкноты стран мира» №9 2016
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