The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 19, May 4, 2014, Article 35


Is a new currency in the offing? Pabitra Saha forwarded this article from the English version of Pravda about the planned currency for the Eurasian Economic Union. -Editor

In May 2014, presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus will sign an agreement on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union. Sections 9 and 11 the agreement, the draft of which is available on the official website of the Russian Ministry for Economic Development, are devoted to the joint monetary policy and financial markets. During the first stage, it is planned to set up an advisory board of the heads of central banks of participating states. The banks would be responsible for the rate of national currencies, regulation of banking and insurance activities and the harmonization of the securities market.

According to the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper that cited a source in the Eurasian Economic Commission, the document stipulates for the establishment of the Eurasian Central Bank - the supranational megaregulator of the joint currency. The Eurasian Central Bank will be subordinated to the council of presidents or prime ministers of the EEU.

The name of the new joint currency has been supposedly coordinated - altyn. The new currency is likely to be introduced not later than in 2025, although international economic sanctions against Russia may cut the process to 3-5 years.

The idea of the new joint currency belongs to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. In 2012, the idea found support with Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. In Russia, altyn was the word to refer to three-kopeck coins.

Altyn had been in circulation on the territory of several Russian principalities from the XV century. The coins appeared simultaneously with the beginning of the era of coinage. Interestingly, the altyn was used as a Eurasian currency immediately after it appeared. This coin was used in calculations between Russian and Asians nationals. In the XVII century, 20 altyn could buy a live calf, five - a piglet, two or three - a goose.

The name of the coin could be borrowed from the Golden Horde, where there was a coin of the same name. According to researchers, the word "altyn" comes from the Turkic numeral "alti" which means "six." Others believe that Russia simply adopted the Turkic word "gold" that sounds just like the name of the coin. However, the altyn was never coined in gold. Originally, it was made of copper; the silver altyn appeared during the times of Peter the Great.

In 1839, under Nicholas I, the altyn was revived in the form of copper coins of three kopecks. Three-kopeck copper coins were used during the Soviet era, although the coins lost the original name. The coins of this value disappeared after 1991.

To read the complete article, see: ( Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus to have new joint currency by 2025

I can't say I'm familiar with the " altyn". I found an article on Wikipedia, and the article cited E-Sylum Eric Schena. Below is his discussion of the coin. Thanks! other reader comments are welcome. -Editor

The Altyn is a neat coin. The first examples were struck under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich using dies used for silver kopecks. The inscriptions on the Altyns are complete whereas the normal kopecks only have bits and pieces.

The coins from my understanding were more ceremonial than an actual currency - perhaps used as decorations or maybe like Maundy money. Under Peter the Great, the coin was struck as a 3 kopeck piece starting in 1704. I have an example in my collection but I am traveling so I cannot send a scan. It's a small silver coin maybe the size of a half dime with the Russian double-headed eagle on one side and the inscription reading roughly Altyn 1704 (in Cyrillic numerals) and the mintmark BK. It was struck off and on through the early 18th century but eventually became a copper coin and no longer called by the Altyn name.

To read the complete Wikipedia article, see: Altyn (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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