St. Petersburg mint, KM-Y64, Fr-179, Bit-14 (R). Brilliantly lustrous and pleasingly toned, this majestic gold issue from the latter part of Nicholas II's reign is a stunning near-gem. Save for a tiny nick on his neck, there is little in the way of distracting marks at all. Incredibly difficult to encounter so attractive, it is tied with a sparse handful of other specimens at this level, with none currently certified any higher. Wholly worthy of a premium bid and intense adoration during in-hand inspection.
Nicholas II (18 May 1868 – 17 July 1918) was the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw the fall of the Russian Empire from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse. Due to the Khodynka Tragedy, anti-Semitic pogroms, Bloody Sunday, the violent suppression of the 1905 Revolution, the execution of political opponents and his perceived responsibility for the Russo-Japanese War, he was given the nickname Nicholas the Bloody by his political adversaries. Soviet historiography portrayed Nicholas as a weak and incompetent leader, whose decisions led to military defeats and the deaths of millions of his subjects.
Nicholas approved the Russian mobilisation on 30 July 1914, which led to Germany declaring war on Russia on 1 August 1914. It is estimated that around 3,300,000 Russians were killed in the First World War. Following the February Revolution of 1917, Nicholas abdicated on behalf of himself and his son. Nicholas and his family were imprisoned in late summer 1918. With the approval of Lenin, Sverdlov and the rest of the top Bolshevik party leadership, Nicholas and his family were eventually executed on the night of 16–17 July 1918.