Wednesday, 2022.05.18
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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: 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: Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza

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.

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 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.

Numismatic Puzzle: Metz

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.

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: Matapan

Matapan is the Arabic term for the enthroned Christ on the reverse of a heavy Venetian silver coin introduced around 1200. Today, however, you will put together the obverses’ motif: St Mark who presents the banner to the head of state.

Numismatic Puzzle: Medieval Women Power in Switzerland

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.