August 16, 2012 – In 2011 the Czech Mint issued the first of 24 silver investment medals featuring a town motif. Now the second medal has followed. It is dedicated to the Bohemian town Chomutov. The medal is struck in 1 kilo and 500 grams.
Czech Republic / 999 silver / 90 mm / 1,000 g resp. 500 g / Design: Irena Hradecká (obverse), Miroslav Schovanec (reverse) / Mintage: 150 (1-kilo-medal) resp. 300 (500-gram-medal).
The obverse shows the town motif: a panoramic view of the historic centre of Chomutov in a sector of a circle. In the foreground a front view of the church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary with the municipal tower superimposes on the relief. On the left you will find the indications of weight and fineness: 1000 g Ag 999, on the right the town’s name Chomutov.
All medals of this series feature the same reverse. It is dedicated to the so-called statutory towns, a concept that goes back to the Austrian administration. At this epoch the term defined towns of particular importance, which were not assigned to any county and thus relatively independently administrated. Today statutory towns still benefit of a special legal status permitting them a wider self administration. They vote a borough council and a mayor is elected directly by the citizens.
The map on the reverse shows the geographical position of all statutory towns in the Czech Republic. In the background runs a list of their names. The inscription reads Statutární mesta Ceské republiky (Statutory Towns of the Czech Republic).
In 2006 Chomutov, a town with 50,000 inhabitants in the northwest of the Czech Republic, became a statutory town. In that region at the foot of the Ore Mountains important railway lines and roads pass. Hence, around the year 800 the area was settled yet. In the 13th century Friedrich von Komotau gave the place Comtau to the Teutonic Order, but only in 1396 the Order bestowed the town charter upon Albrecht von Duben and Nikolaus von Komotau; the market was exonerated from custom duties and taxes, a city hall was built and, first of all, Komotau received a city coat of arms. Later the town changed its masters, it was pillaged by the Protestant Hussites, put in pawn, and again given as a present.
Panoramic view of Chomutov. Photo: Tomás Marounek / Wikipedia.
In the 16th century Chomutov was a vital producer of alum. At that time this mineral was indispensable for producing cloth. Until around 1510 European alum had been monopolised by the Pope, while using Islamic alum was forbidden under penalty of excommunication. Then new methods of mining, however, permitted the alum production in many mines of Central and Northern Europe. These methods opened a major source of revenue. An alum lake with a surface of a couple of hectares and nearly four metres of depth attests even today to the early modern alum mining. The lake is a singular phenomenon his water containing ca 1 percent of alum.
In the early 17th century Komotau became a Royal free city, however, some time later it suffered from the dreadful Thirty Years’ War. In 1813, during the Napoleonic Wars, Tsar Alexander I, Frederick William III of Prussia and Francis I, Emperor of Austria met in Komotau to coordinate their actions against the French adversary Napoleon Bonaparte. In the mid-18th century Komotau benefitted from the industrialisation. Railroad lines linked the region to Prague and other major cities.
But Komotau too saw the apocalyptical years of the Czech Republic’s occupation by the German Nazis when the Czech minority was forced to flee. After 1945 revenge was taken upon the German-Bohemian men of Komotau, executions and retaliation actions occurred. Today, however, Chomutov’s German-Czech Meeting Centre is evidence of the amicable relations that have been established after World War II between the Czech statutory town and the neighbouring country.
By the way, one of the most popular German actresses, Ruth Maria Kubitschek, is Chomutov-born.
‘Chomutov’ is the first silver investment medal of the series ‘Czech Statutory Towns’ in 2012. Each year two new medals of the series will appear. The very limited mintage certainly will arouse not only the investors’ interest in the series.
More information on the Czech Mint is available here.
This is the official website of the city of Chomutov.