Archduke Sigismund of Austria was called “rich in coins” as he turned vast masses of silver into coins – among them this 1486 guldiner. This coins became the model of all heavy silver issues which are known today as taler.
In 1905, Bertha von Suttner became the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee thus honoured the life’s work of this dedicated pacifist and writer. Today, her face can be found in many purses and wallets: on Austria’s 2-euro circulation coins.
In 1500, the Archbishop of Salzburg Leonhard von Keutschach had this silver batzen minted. Through his reforms he turned Salzburg into one of the richest principalities of the Holy Roman Empire.
These “ship guldens” were minted by the Dutch in West Friesland for their colony at the Cape of Good Hope. When the Dutch lost this territory, they sent the coins to Batavia on the island of Java. There, they were finally put into circulation in 1803.
This fiorino d’oro from around 1430 depicts Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, tearing along on his horse. The animal’s saddlecloth features the coat of arms (the “biscione”). It became the symbol of the whole of Lombardy – and also of car manufacturer Alfa Romeo.
Today’s coin is of the type of a Venetian ducat, a so-called zecchino. This gold specimen from around 1350 shows the doge, the head of state of Venice, receiving a banner by St Mark, the city’s patron saint.
In the 11th century, Kloster Allerheiligen (All Saints Abbey) in Schaffhausen was granted the right to mint coins. Take a look at this 13th-century bracteate and decide for yourself what you see: a ram, as an allusion to the town’s name, or a Lamb of God?
The tornesel, a heavy silver coin which was created in Tours (France) in 1266, was so popular that it was imitated in many places. John II from the Duchy of Brabant also did so around 1300: do you recognize the cityscape of Tours in the lily wreath?
This isn’t an Arab gold dinar. Pay attention to the cross and the abbreviation ALF: this coin was minted in the 12th century by Alfonso VIII, the Christian ruler of Castile. Maravedí was the currency used by Christians and Moors to conduct trade.
Under Charlemagne, the Frankish Empire reached its greatest expansion around 800 and experienced the so-called Carolingian Renaissance. Charlemagne also reformed the monetary system – today you can try your hand at a denarius featuring the ruler’s monogram.