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Teen discovers 18th century Russian coin on Pictou County beach

Kieran Bent holds a 1765 Russian coin he found on a beach along the East River in Abercrombie on Saturday.
Kieran Bent holds a 1765 Russian coin he found on a beach along the East River in Abercrombie on Saturday.

ABERCROMBIE – Kieran Bent was looking for sea glass at the beach near his grandparents’ home in Abercrombie on Saturday when he saw a greenish object that caught his eye.  

“When I picked it up, it didn’t feel right based on its thickness,” Bent said.

He gave it a flick and the sound was more like metal.

“Then I remembered that copper corrodes green,” the 15-year-old said.

Bent, who lives in Trenton, realized his find might be a coin, but he wasn’t sure.

After about four hours of cleaning it, he was able to see letters and the date 1765 clearly visible on one side, allowing him to try to identify it online.

He learned that it’s a five kopek coin from the old Russian Empire. Worn ones sell for around $25, Bent said. He said the one he found probably would have been worth more if he hadn’t cleaned it, because collectors advise against that.

Local coin collector and expert Steve Brennan said a Russian coin certainly wouldn’t be common in this area.

“I don’t know how it would have landed on a beach,” he said.

Coins most often end up on a beach when people are carrying them in their pocket and changing to swim, he said. It’s possible someone was visiting from Russia or had visited and gave the coin to someone in Pictou County. Given the age of the coin, it’s also possible it came from a ship that sank in the area or was passing through the area and someone dropped it. There’s a place near the Abercrombie beach on the East River, which is a tidal river, where coal ships were loaded many years ago.

When it comes to coins and their value, Brennan said a coin’s value is determined based on age as well as what the coin is made of and how many were minted.

While it may not be worth a great deal, Bent said he’s happy with his find and plans to keep it.


The year 1765

In 1765 Canada was still more than 100 years from becoming a country. The Ship Hector was still eight years from arriving in Pictou. Catherine the Great was ruling Russia. George III (grandfather of Queen Victoria) was on the throne in England. Here’s a look at some other major events that year:

March 24 – Great Britain passes the Quartering Act, requiring the 13 American colonies to house British troops.

May 18 – Fire destroys one quarter of the town of Montreal, Quebec.

Aug. 9 – Russian Empress Catherine II issues a decree authorizing a new way to produce vodka (by freezing).

Nov. 1 – The Stamp Act goes into effect in the 13 American colonies.

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