Tuesday, 2022.12.06
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Numismatic Puzzle: Katanga Cross

Today’s puzzle is a Katanga cross from southern Kongo.

Numismatic Puzzle: 1715 Taler, Zurich (Switzerland)

Today’s puzzle is a 1715 Taler from Zurich in Switzerland.

Numismatic Puzzle: The Bernese Bear

In 1493, Bern started minting guldiners. This one is from 1494. The Bernese heraldic beast (a bear) is depicted beneath the imperial eagle, the emblem of the Holy Roman Empire, in order to demonstrate that the city was not subject to anyone except the emperor himself.

Numismatic Puzzle: A Zurich Horror Show

This 1512 Zurich silver taler appears to depict a horror scene: three people hold their heads in front of them. In fact, they are the city’s patron saints Felix, Regula and Exuperantius. They were persecuted and beheaded as Christians in ancient times – and thus became saints.

Numismatic Puzzle: Sixtus V

The Vatican’s finances were in a bad way in the 16th century. As the new pope, Sixtus V – here depicted on a 1588 silver coin – therefore relied on high taxes and rigorous saving. After a pontificate of only five years, he died as one of the richest rulers in Europe.

Numismatic Puzzle: Manilla

A manilla looks like a bangle, but its opening is too wide to be used as jewellery. In fact, Manillas were used for centuries as a currency by Europeans to trade with West African nations.

Numismatic Puzzle: Cowries

In ancient China, cowries were used as a substitute for money for centuries as they were coveted and resembled one another. Imitations of cowries later led to the introduction of metal money. And, above all, they simply are beautiful to look at!

Numismatic Puzzle: Melanesian Boar’s Tusk

This is a boar’s tusk. On a group of islands east of Australia, wealth is traditionally quantified using pigs as a unit of measurement. Circular boar’s tusks are still used as bride price or atonement money – and they even adorn the national flag of Vanuatu.

Numismatic Puzzle: Niccolò Tron

The doge was the highest official of Venice – and lost more and more of his power as time went on. In the 1470s, Niccolò Tron became the only doge to be portraited on a coin, the Lira Tron, which was named after him.

Numismatic Puzzle: The Noble

In 1340, England’s King Edward III defeated France in a sea battle – the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War. He celebrated this victory in 1344 with a new gold coin, the noble. For centuries, the noble was an extremely popular coin on the continent, too.