Valuable paper

From CCD.54

The exhibit at the top is a 1905 three-rouble banknote, one of many imperial and Soviet banknotes collected by Cooke. The Russian imperial double-headed eagle’s claws clasp an orb and sceptre, its chest shows St George, and its wings display the arms of eight areas and cities within the Empire. The eagle is matched by Nicholas II’s monogram.

The imperial note is followed by a 1938 five-rouble banknote. The Soviet emblem (top left) includes the motto ‘Workers of the world, unite!’ in the languages of the 11 republics which then made up the Soviet Union. The image of the pilot in front of an aeroplane was one of a series. The one-rouble note from the same issue showed a miner, and the three-rouble note a soldier.

The aerial theme of the Soviet banknote continues in the third piece, which shows a plane above a factory. This is not currency but a 1929 lottery ticket sold in support of OSOAVIAKhIM (Society of Assistance to Defence and Aviation-Chemical Construction). The 50-kopeck ticket gave its bearer the chance to win one of 22,550 prizes detailed on the reverse. First prize was a round-the-world trip. Others included guitars, razors, and the collected works of Lenin, Gorky, and Tolstoy.

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