1859, Russia, Emperor Alexander II. Silver Poltina (½ Rouble) Coin. VF+

Mint Year: 1859 Reference: KM-24. R! Denomination:  Poltina (½ Rouble) Mint Place: St. Petersburg (С.П.Б.)  Condition: Numerous circulation-marks and scratches, otherwise a nice VF+ Mint Master: Fedor Blum (Ф-Б, 1856-1861)  Material: Silver (.868) Weight: 10.21gm Diameter: 28mm

Obverse: Crown above value in cyrilic letters and date inside wreath. Legend:  ПОЛТИНА / 1859 / С.П.Б.     ("½ ROUBLE / 1859 S.P.B.") Reverse:Large crown above crowned double headed eagle, holding imperial scepter and orb. Legend: * ЧИСТАГО СЕРЕБРА 2 ЗОЛОТНИКА 10½ ДОЛЕИ ("* Pure Silver 2 Zolotniks and 10½ Parts") Exergue: Ф-Б (F-B, "Paul Alexiev")

Alexander II (Russian:  Aleksandr II Nikolaevich) (29 April [O.S. 17 April] 1818,   Moscow – 13 March [O.S. 1 March] 1881, Saint Petersburg), also known as Alexander the Liberator (Russian: Aleksandr Osvoboditel') was the Emperor of the Russian Empire   from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881. He was also the King   of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland.

Born in 1818, he was the eldest son of Nicholas I of   Russia and Charlotte of Prussia, daughter of Frederick William III of   Prussia and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.   His early life gave little   indication of his ultimate potential; until   the time of his accession   in 1855, aged 37, few imagined that he would   be known to posterity as   a leader able to implement the most challenging   reforms undertaken in   Russia since the reign of Peter the Great. The kings that are listed in   this section are among the best that empire had ever seen.

In the period of his life as heir apparent the   intellectual atmosphere of Saint Petersburg was unfavourable to any kind   of change: freedom of thought and all forms of private initiative were   being suppressed vigorously. Personal and official censorship was rife;   criticism of the authorities was regarded as a serious   offence. Some   26 years after he had the opportunity of implementing   changes he   would, however, be assassinated in public by the Narodnaya Volya   (People's Will) terrorist organisation.

His education as a future Tsar was carried out under   the supervision of the liberal romantic poet and gifted translator   Vasily Zhukovsky, grasping a smattering of a great many subjects, and   becoming familiar with the chief modern European languages.   His   alleged lack of interest in military affairs detected by later     historians could have been only his reflection on the results on his own     family and on the effect on the whole country of the unsavoury   Crimean War. Unusually for the time, the young Alexander was taken on a   six-month tour of Russia, visiting 20 provinces in the country. He also   visited many prominent Western European countries. As Tsarevich,   Alexander became the first Romanov heir to visit Siberia.

Alexander II succeeded to the throne upon the death   of his father in   1855. The first year of his reign was devoted to the   prosecution of the Crimean War and, after the fall of Sevastopol, to   negotiations for peace, led by his trusted counsellor Prince Gorchakov.   The country had been exhausted and humiliated by the war. Bribe-taking,   theft and corruption were everywhere. Encouraged by public opinion he   began a period of radical reforms,   including an attempt to not to   depend on a landed aristocracy   controlling the poor, a move to   developing Russia's natural resources   and to thoroughly reform all   branches of the administration.

After Alexander became Tsar in 1855, he maintained a   generally liberal   course. Despite this he was a target for numerous   assassination attempts   (1866, 1879, 1880). On 13 March [O.S. 1 March]   1881 members of the Narodnaya Volya (People's Will) party killed him   with a bomb. The Tsar had earlier in   the day signed the Loris-Melikov   constitution which would have created   two legislative commissions made   up of indirectly elected   representatives, had it not been repealed by   his reactionary successor Alexander III.

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