Rich Augsburg could afford to build massive fortifications. However, they did not stop the Swedes from conquering the city in the Thirty Years’ War. When this taler was minted in 1641, the Bavarians had just driven out the Swedes – but not for long. And Augsburg bled.
In 1817, the engraver Benedetto Pistrucci created a truly evergreen design for the Royal Mint. His interpretation of England’s patron saint, the dragon-slayer George – shown here on a coin of Queen Victoria from 1887 – is still used on British coins today!
On 8 February 1998, Italians were invited to vote by telephone on the motif of future 2 euro coins. And the people voted: Dante Alighieri, who is indisputably considered Italy’s most important poet.
Testone, “big head”, is the name of silver coins that were introduced in 15th-century Italy. They are particularly large and heavy coins featuring the portrait of a ruler. Here you can see a magnificent testone by Ercole I d’Este, the Duke of Ferrara from around 1500.
This gold double ducat from c.1475 depicts Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza. In name – and in name only – the youth was Duke of Milan as he was under constant guardianship until his early death. What remains are coins minted for him depicting splendid Renaissance portraits.
The city of Metz, too, minted silver coins in the standard of the popular tornesel. They depict St Stephen, to whom the city’s cathedral is dedicated. However, the building was still under construction when our piece was minted at some point after 1406.
As a sign of their power, the abbesses of the Fraumünster in Zurich had the right to mint coins. But by the time they decided to depict themselves on their issues, as on this late 13th-century pfennig, they had already had to surrender much of their power to the citizens of the town.
In the 12th century, Albert the Bear gradually expanded his territory until the royal chancellery bestowed his conquests to him as the Margraviate of Brandenburg. How did he present himself? Put together an image of Albert depicted on one of his denarii.
According to its reverse, this denarius of Louis the Pious was minted in Venice. But the lagoon city wasn’t even ruled by the Carolingians! How is this possible? Does this coin testify to a plot of the mint master against his doge? …
This solidus of Arcadius was minted in AD 395. Arcadius’ father Theodosius had just died. His brother Honorius administered the western part of the empire from Rome, and he himself administered the east from Constantinople. The beginning of the Byzantine Empire!