Russian Empire, Alexander III, Ruble 1893

Around 1900, most Russian villages still looked the same as in the times of Ivan the Terrible, the first Russian tsar (1547-1584). The fields were worked with simple means, and as a result, agriculture was susceptible to crisis and crop failures. In the years of 1891/92, brought about by a drought, a terrible famine killed about half a million people. A ruble like this one was an enormous amount of money for a peasant's family at that time; one could have bought about 100 loaves of black bread for such a coin. For the tsar, on the other hand, the same sum had a completely different value: the Fabergé egg that he offered his wife Maria Fjodorowna as an Easter present in 1885, cost 4,115 rubles.