Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Imperial Russian Banknote Signature Varieties

So we're going to take a break from coverage of the 1909 issues today to cover an important topic related to the collecting of Imperial Russian issues of the 20th century: signature varieties.  Each note bears two signatures, that of the 'State Bank Director' and that of a cashier.  While there are a number of cashier signatures--and it is possible to collect based on them--the signature of the 'State Bank Director' is the one that most collectors pay attention to. 

I mentioned these signature varieties yesterday, but for the 1909 10 ruble issue there are only three varieties (Timashev, Konshin, and Shipov).  In reality, there are four signature varieties for some notes of this time period, the examples that were issued prior to Timashev's tenure as director.  The earliest signature that one will see on notes of this time period is Pleske, who served from 1898 until 1903.  In 1898 there was a major recall of circulating banknotes and the vast majority were destroyed.  It is for this reason (prices rise rapidly prior to this date as well) that many collectors choose to start with notes from 1898 and that Pleske is the first major signature variety. 

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