In the fall of 2006 in Chernigov oblast (exact location is not known) during the excavation works local inhabitants unearthed a coin. After initial inspection it appeared to be a srebrennik of the Kiev duke Vladimir (980-1015). After additional thorough review of the excavation site at the depth of 20 cm additional 4 coins were found, and later - another 26 coins at the depth of 60-70cm, two of which were broken into pieces. In total 31 coins were discovered. Unfortunately all of them disappeared in private collections.

It was possible, however, to establish, that the coins which were discovered closer to the surface were less subject to atmospheric influences. The legends on them appeared readable. The other coins were covered with a thick coat of green rust and were impossible to attribute before cleaning. About 15 coins were glued in one clot. During the excavation the workers found a ground hole full of ashes, which led the researchers to believe that the site was either hosting a dug-out hut equipped with a fireplace or a fox hole. They hypothesised that the hunters could have set a fire near the hole's entrance in an attempt to force the fox out of its hideout with smoke, thus leaving the ashes in this area. The fox was also believed to have unearthed several coins when digging its hole. One of the coins retained clear traces of fabric, which led the researchers to be assume that the coins were stored in a tissue pouch. Practically all coins were preserved in good condition.

At the request of the author, the owners of the coins agreed to provide some of the coins for study. Thus, from the 31 coins it was possible to inspect 14. Some srebrenniks were photographed before and after the restoration. I would like to share the results of this study for potential inclusion of this find into the common register of these rare coins.

The coins were of different silver fineness - from low silver content (35%) to high (95%). After the silver content was determined by method of surface scanning, it appeared that virtually all coins contained traces of lead, zinc, bismuth, and gold. According to the established classifications the coins were attributed as follows:

  • Coins with the name of Vladimir (figure 1):
    • type І - not present;
    • type ІІ - 12 coins;
    • type ІІІ - 5 coins;
    • тип IV - 5 coins;
  • Coins with the name of Svyatopolk - 4 coins (including 1 coins broken into 2 pieces (photo 2);
  • Coins with the name of Petros - 2 coins (photo 3);
  • Coins with the name of Petor - 3 coins (including 1 coins broken into 5 pieces (photo 4).

Among coins with the name "Vladimir" of type II, coin 1 could be further singled out due to the fact that it is produced from silver of very high fineness (95%), which is rare for these coins. One of the coins of type II has an hole resulting from a defect in the manufacture of casting die. Both copies of the third type stand out from the mass of coins: coin 5 due to the high-grade silver (94.4%), and coin 6 due to its size - diameter of 31-32 mm and a fully legible legend on the obverse and reverse. Coins of type IV, 7 and 8, are interesting in that the circular inscription is readable over the image of the prince. M.P. Sotnikova describes a similar coin under No 159, 159-1. Among the coins with the name "Svyatopolk" specimens 8 and 9, struck wit the same pair of dies.

I would like to note coin 10 of Svatopolk with the name of "Petros". The obverse features a prince with large round ears. Figure 5 shows several coins before restoration. On one side of the first instance the imprint from srebrennik of Svatopolk, with which this coin stuck, is clearly visible . On the reverse, one can discern traces of fabric remaining from the tissue pouch. The owner of the coin was requested not to restore this specimen in order to keep as a proof of authenticity of the entire group of coins. Inspection of the remaining copies before cleaning showed that with certainty we can say that these coins are all original. One can not help mentioning the find near Kiev coins with the name "Vladimir" of type I (Figure 6). This specimen is fairly well preserved, inscription is almost fully legible. I examined this coin personally - its authenticity is not in doubt. The coins was produced with the same pair of dies as No 24-1 described by M.P. Sotnikova and I.G. Spassky in the above-mentioned work.


Figure 1. Coins with the name of Vladimir

Type II

Srebrenniks with the name of Vladimir
1 (weight 2,74 g, diameter 26 mm, silver content 952°).
Srebrenniks with the name of Vladimir2 (weight 2,24 g, diameter 28,2 mm, silver content 468°).
Srebrenniks with the name of Vladimir3 (weight 2,97 g, diameter 26 mm, silver content 521°).
Srebrenniks with the name of Vladimir4 (weight 2,61 g, diameter 25.5-26 mm, silver content 814°). Imagee 1

 


Type III
Srebrenniks with the name of Vladimir5 (weight 3,29 g, diameter 27—28 mm, silver content 944°).
Srebrenniks with the name of Vladimir6 (weight 3,88 g, diameter 31—32 mm, silver content 625°).

 


Type IV

Figure 2. Coins with the name of Svyatopolk7 (weight 2,50 g, diameter 27 mm, silver content 704°).
Srebrenniks with the name of Vladimir8 (weight 3,21 g, diameter 27—27,5 мм, silver content not known).
 



Figure 2. Coins with the name of Svyatopolk

Srebrenniks with the name of Svyatopolk7 (weight 3,33 g, diameter 27,5 mm, silver content 692°).
Srebrenniks with the name of Svyatopolk8 (weight 2,89 g, diameter 28—29 mm, silver content not known).
Srebrenniks with the name of Svyatopolk9 (weight 2,87 g, diameter 26,5 мм, silver content 796°).



Figure 3. Coins with the name of Petros

Srebrenniks with the name of Petros

10 (weight 2,95 g, diameter 27-28 mm, silver content 378°).




Figure 4. Coins with the name of Petor
Srebrenniks with the name of Petros11 (weight 2,5 g, diameter 28,2 mm, silver content not known, broken into 5 pieces).
 


Figure 5. Coins before restoration

Srebrenniks before restoration
Imprint of Svyatopolk srebrennik. Embossed tissue threads are visible.
Srebrenniks before restoration



Figure 6. Coins with the name of Vladimir
Srebrenniks with the name of Vladimir
Type I
12 (Single find in Kiev vicinities, 2005
weight 2,39 g, diameter 25,5-26,5 mm, silver content not known).
 

Source: Sergei Belopolskiy, Srebrenniks of X-XI century found in Ukraine. Bankauski vesnik, 7[408] 2008.
Original source used (currently unavailable): https://www.nbrb.by/bv/Arch/408.pdf

Article translated from Russian to English by Bein Numismatics.