One of the more unique series of bullion coins from the 20th century is the Russian Ballerina Palladium Series. The Russian Ballerina was a short-lived series and is widely viewed as one of the first major palladium bullion coin collections from a large, post-industrialized nation. This unique collection is scarce in the 21st century and available specimens often generate immediate interest with investors and collectors alike.
The Russian Ballerina series was introduced in 1989 by the former Soviet Union. Like many other bullion coin collections, the series was meant to be a showcase for Russian nationalism and culture. As such, the Bolshoi (ballet) was chosen as the inspiration for the designs on the coins. More interestingly, the Soviet Union chose palladium over gold or silver for the metal in the series because of the high concentration of global palladium reserves available within the country.
While the coins proved popular, the series would end up being short-lived. Russian Ballerina Palladium Coins were issued from 1989 to 1995. The primary reason for the series ending after just six years was the economic collapse in Russia following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The design of the Russian Ballerina Palladium Coins is rooted in the rich tradition of ballet in Russia. In the 18th century, the Russian Empire was closed to the cultural influences of the outside world, both from the East and the West. However, in the early 1700s, the Bolshoi Ballet came to Russia from France and grew over the next 200 years to become a world-renowned classical ballet company.
On the obverse of Russian Ballerina Palladium Coins, the mint features a depiction of a ballerina dancing. Varied designs were used in the program’s history, with the specific pose of the ballerina changing each year, but featuring on both the 1 oz and 1/2 oz coins.
The reverse of the Ballerina Palladium Coins showcased the infamous hammer-and-sickle seal representing the former Soviet Union. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation continued with the use of this symbolism on the reverse of the coins through 1995.
Over the brief history of the series, just two weights were issued with regularity: 1 oz and 1/2 oz. Both coins featured .9995 pure palladium and had face values of 25 Rubles and 10 Rubles, respectively.
The Russian Ballerina Series garnered immediate interest upon its debut. At the time, only the Perth Mint in Australia had an annual-release palladium coin program available for investors. This made the Russian Ballerina the second major series. Though it was short-lived, the coins generate intense interest today when specimens become available on the market.
First and foremost, the coins were originally issued with limited mintages, so the appearance of the coins on the market tends to generate a quick response from investors and collectors. Secondly, collectors tend to view the coins with particular interest as an artifact, of sorts, representing the coinage of a fallen empire.
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