A shoe full of silver coins

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March 21, 2013 – During construction works nearby the Rotterdam townhall archaeologists made an extraordinary find. They discovered an old leather shoe full of coins.

The Rotterdam coin hoard: 477 silver coins dating from the 15th and 16th centuries hidden in a shoe. © BOOR.

The 477 silver coins are mostly stuivers and half-stuivers (groats). The oldest of the coins dates back to 1472, the youngest is from 1592.

Detail of the silver coins. © BOOR

Hence we may suppose that the coins were hidden during the time of unrest of the Eighty Years’ War. Between 1568 and 1648, the Seventeen Provinces fought for their independence from Spain, and in this epoch Rotterdam was one of the rare seditious cities to provide an open harbour to the sea.
The archaeologists believe that a worried citizen concealed the coins below the floor in an old shoe saving them for better times. But, apparently, he has never had the opportunity to recover them.
In the near future the coins will be studied and analysed – and we hope they might be put on display publicly.

You can find more information on the website of the BOOR, the Bureau Oudheidkundig Onderzoek Rotterdam.

And you can watch a video clip of the excavation here.

You can read an article on the suffering of Leyden, another important Dutch city, during the Eighty Years’ War in our archive.