Friday, 2023.03.24
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Numismatic Puzzle: Leonhard von Keutschach

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.

Numismatic Puzzle: Scheepjesgulden

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.

Numismatic Puzzle: Filippo Maria Visconti

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.

Numismatic Puzzle: The Doge of Venice

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.

Numismatic Puzzle: Schaffhausen

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?

Numismatic Puzzle: Brabant

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?

Numismatic Puzzle: Maravedí

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.

Numismatic Puzzle: Charlemagne

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.

Numismatic Puzzle: Knife Money

Commodity money including various tools had a long tradition in China. Knife money circulated for centuries, especially in northern China. This specimen from the Qi Kingdom dates to the 4th century BC.

Numismatic Puzzle: Darius

Today you will see the Persian King Darius the Great (ca. 522-486 B.C.) in a half-kneeling stance as brave archer on one of his gold coins. For a long time, these darics, which were named after him, were a popular means of payment throughout the Mediterranean world.