Tauride coins: numismatic rarity of Russian Empire


2 kopeck, 1788: Russian Empire

2 kopeck, 1788: Russian Empire

At first glance, the photo shows an extremely common Russian copper coin of the 18th century: 2 kopecks of Empress Catherine II in non-collectible condition. However, in fact, this is a rare coin, as indicated by the two small letters TM on the reverse.

Ruler: Catherine II (Ekaterina II) — empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796.

ДВЕ КОПЕЙКИ: two kopecks.

Saint George (Christian saint, great martyr, the most revered saint with that name and one of the most famous saints in the Christian world, the prototype of whose image was a Roman soldier from Cappadocia during the time of Emperor Diocletian) strikes a dragon with a spear.

ТМ (Таврическая Монета): mintmark of Tauride or Tauric Mint (Feodosia, Ukraine).

Crowned monogram of Empress Ekaterina II (І Е ІІ: Імператрица Екатерина ІІ).

Reticulated edge of coin.

Mintage: 60.050.

  • Copper: 33 mm - 20.7 g
  • Reference price: 100$

TAURIDE COINS — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. RUSSIAN EMPIRE (1787-1788): kopecks with TM mintmark

TAURIDE COINS as coin name.
Tauride coins (Russian "Монета таврическая") — the conventional name for a series of coins of the colonial Russian Empire, issued during 1787-1788 at the Tauride Mint (nowadays — Feodosia; Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine). All of them contained a characteristic mintmark — "TM". They are considered rare coins of the reign of Empress Catherine II.
First coins on the territory of modern Feodosia began minted in ancient times Greek immigrants more than 2 millennia ago. During the Middle Ages, a mint of the Republic of Genoa (immigrants from Italy) worked in Caffa (the then name of Feodosia). Coins of the Crimean Khanate were also issued there. Immediately before the incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Empire, during 1780-1782, transitional coins were minted within the borders of Feodosia — Crimean Tatar Şahin Giray akçe (so-called "kopeck | akçe") with the technical parameters of Russian coins of that time. In 1783, the peninsula was finally annexed to the Russian Empire. Almost immediately after that, a new institution was opened on the site of the khan's mint — the Tauride Mint.
During 1787-1788, this mint issued copper coins of the imperial standard in denominations of 2 and 5 kopecks. Each of them contained the TM mark — by Russian "Таврическая монета" ("Tauride coin").
The mintage of Tauride coins was relatively not massive but it did not become purely local — they entered the national monetary circulation and were found throughout the Empire (this particular coin was found by me in the late 1990s in the Ukrainian city of Baturyn, which at that time was occupied by Russia, but now is the pearl of Northern Ukraine). For example, 460.000 pieces of 5 kopecks were minted in 1787, and 499.000 in 1788. However, 2 kopecks of 1788 are considered almost a rarity among numismatists (mintage — 60.050 pieces). Therefore, Tavrian coins are valued by collectors much higher compared to the all-imperial analogues: 2 and 5 kopecks of 1787-1788 of other mints.
There is also information about the issue of trial silver Tauride coins (another coins minted by the Tauride Mint): 2, 5, 10 and 20 kopecks of 1787, which were dedicated to the visit of Catherine II to Feodosia. Extremely rare coins.
In 1788, another Russo-Turkish war was gaining momentum... the threat of an Ottoman invasion loomed over Feodosia. The production of coins has stopped. Moreover, the Tauride Mint completely ceased its short-term existence.
The name "Tauride coins" (sometimes "Tauric or Taurian coins") indicates the place of their minting — the Tauride Mint (Feodosia, Crimea). By the way, Tauria (Taurida, Taurica) is the historical name of the Crimean Peninsula.