Friday, 2022.12.09
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Numismatic Puzzle: Saint George and the Dragon

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!

Numismatic Puzzle: Bertha von Suttner

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.

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: Dante Alighieri

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.

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: 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: Ercole I d’Este

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.

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.