This small museum is dedicated to the history of money in Russia, as well as other countries around the the world. It features a collection of monetary units of 231 states, including those which are rare and out of circulation. There are old and exotic banknotes and coins, including some from the BC era. The museum is located on the northern outskirts of Moscow in a park called Rechnoy Vokzal (Russian: Речной вокзал).
This private museum was established by the collector and traveller Alexander Plyushchenko in 2011. It is housed in the building of the Moscow River Shipping Company, where it occupies the ground-floor entrance hall.
The core of the collection is mostly comprised of banknotes; there are also coins, but in a smaller amount. The banknotes originate from 231 countries (keep in mind that there are only 251 countries in the world as of 2017, not including unrecognized states). The first display case in the museum presents items which performed a monetary function in ancient times, including cowries, salt, and cocoa beans. Cowries could only be found in the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Maldive Islands and were impossible to counterfeit. They were used in India, China, Ceylon, and Africa. The shells were also found in Europe, including on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin. Cocoa beans and salt ingots were used as currency in different countries until the beginning of the 20th century.
Coins of the ancient world are displayed together with shells; they originate from China, Scythia, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and others. The most intriguing exhibits are Scythian arrow-coins from the 6th-1st centuries BC, dolphin-shaped coins from the Greek polis Olvia (440-360 BC), fish-coins (1122-255 BC) from China, and Athenian tetradrachma (460-415 BC). There is also an old, curiously shaped coin – an “exchange-hoe” from China 1 AD. Not far from the display case with ancient currencies you can see Rai stones – the world’s largest example of money in the world. Even today, these stone circles with a hole in the middle are considered to be symbolic of wealth in Yap Island, Micronesia.
The collection features a great variety of banknotes. Some of them such as paintings and stamps are decorated with the landscapes, monuments, history and flora and fauna of the countries they were issued in. For instance, the dollars from the Bermuda Islands instantly draw attention of the visitors with their pictures of fish, birds, and animals. Another jewel in the collection is a fully gilded anniversary bank note from Belize. Che Guevara fans will be interested in a bank note from Cuba, which features the famous revolutionary’s signature (for some time he held the post of the country’s Minister of Finance). The oldest bank note in the collection was issued in Italy in 1746. Other display cases show currency from the Third Reich, banknotes and coins from Great Britain (dating back to the 15th century) and various original US dollars.
Separate display boards are dedicated to the history of money in Russia. In Russia, the period when only coins, rather than bank notes, circulated was the longest among European countries. The first banknotes appeared only under the rule of Catherine II (18th century). The museum collection contains banknotes from the 19–20th centuries, bonds, Provisional Government money, Civil war period and USSR money. For instance, during the Civil War (1920-1922) many Russian regions issued their own money as a way to prove the legitimacy of their government. According to scientists’ later estimates, there were 20,000 various banknotes in circulation! Some of these are also displayed in the museum.
Group tours are offered on weekends, and their themes range from ‘Counterfeiting. History and the Present Day’, to ‘History of Money Circulation in Russia’, ‘Animal Kingdom on the Coins of the Countries of the World’, as well as others. Children also have tours which cater to them.
After a visit to the museum, you can have a meal in the cafeteria on the ground floor or walk in the Rechnoy Vokzal park. In winter, there are ice rinks, while in summer small steamers run from its quays. If you’re interested in architecture, there is a fine example of the Stalin Empire style – just have a look at the Northern Riverboat Station building (1937).© 2016-2018 moscovery.com