Nicholas I copper Pattern 5 Kopecks 1849 MS64 Red and Brown NGC, Brekke-262A, Bit-943 (R2). Obv. Crowned double-headed eagle with orb and scepter. Rev. Date and value in wreath. As with the previous 1849 Polushka, Brekke lists as a pattern and Bitkin as an extremely rare first-year issue, The strike is bold, with considerable remaining mint-red luster and a few light contact marks. This is somewhat of an enigma. Of the 4-5 pieces that have been sold at auction in recent years, all but this example have Proof characteristics and this is the only piece that seems to be a Choice regular strike. It is definitely not a Novodel. Extremely rare.
Nicholas I (25 June, 1796 – 2 March, 1855) was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855. He was also the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland. He is best known as a political conservative whose reign was marked by geographical expansion, repression of dissent, economic stagnation, poor administrative policies, a corrupt bureaucracy, and frequent wars that culminated in Russia's defeat in the Crimean War of 1853–56. Nicholas displayed determination, singleness of purpose, and an iron will, along with a powerful sense of duty and a dedication to very hard work. He saw himself as a soldier—a junior officer totally consumed by spit and polish. A handsome man, he was highly nervous and aggressive. He was the younger brother of his predecessor, Alexander I. His aggressive foreign policy involved many expensive wars, having a disastrous effect on the empire's finances.
He was successful against Russia's neighbouring southern rivals as he seized the last territories in the Caucasus held by Persia (comprising modern day Armenia and Azerbaijan) by successfully ending the Russo-Persian War (1826–28). Later on, however, he led Russia into the Crimean War (1853–56) with disastrous results. Historians emphasize that his micromanagement of the armies hindered his generals, as did his misguided strategy. Fuller notes that historians have frequently concluded that "the reign of Nicholas I was a catastrophic failure in both domestic and foreign policy." On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its geographical zenith, spanning over 7.7 million square miles, but in desperate need of reform.