Altered History Currency

The two denominations of imagined currency were designed for a present-day Russia with a past where Peter the Great had never ruled or implemented his many modernizing reforms. The currency uses motifs from pre-Petrine Russia, with each bill based on Russian legend or folklore.

The warm-colored bill takes inspiration from the story of the legend of the firebird retold by Suzanne Massie. It chronicles the tale of Maryushka, a young girl capable of the most beautiful needlework, and the evil sorcerer, Kaschei the Immortal, who steals her away. The cool-colored bill focuses on the union of political power and religious authority in old Russia, with emphasis on the figure of Vladimir Monomakh, who is credited with bringing political stability to the Rus, as well as having a strong influence on organized religion. He is also associated with the legends regarding the precious relic, Monomakh’s Cap (pictured on the bill). Today, this crown is the chief relic of the Russian Grand Princes and Tsars and a symbol of the Russian autocracy. The alphabet used for the numbering and watermarks is Old Church Slavonic, the earliest form of Cyrillic developed and standardized by the Byzantine missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius.