The coinage of the Pomeranian dukes

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by Ursula Kampmann
translated by Annika Backe

June 2, 2016 – Generally speaking, there are two fundamentally different ways to deal with coinage. Firstly, there is the numismatic approach: You assemble all specimens and write a catalog which you can then interpret. And of course there is the historical method: You sit down in an archive and assemble all file notes on coinage. In the best-case scenario, these two ways complement each other, as evidenced by a newly released monograph on the coinage of the Pomeranian dukes.

Joachim Krüger: Münzgeschichte Pommerns in der frühen Neuzeit / Manfred Olding: Katalog der Münzen der pommerschen Herzöge von 1474 bis 1637 (1654) / in cooperation with Helmut Hahn. Gietl Verlag, Regenstauf (2016). 240 p. with color illustrations throughout. 17 x 24 cm, hardcover, thread-stitching. ISBN: 978-3-86646-129-1. 69 euros.

The new book is the successful outcome of the collaboration between the coin dealer Manfred Olding, who is known to many readers through his cataloging of the Prussian coinage, and the historian Joachim Krüger, who wrote his PhD thesis on the Pomeranian coinage between 1580 and 1715.
The two authors were brought together by a doctor and collector, Prof Dr Helmut Hahn, who is not only an internationally recognized physician and microbiologist, who was awarded an honorary doctorate, but also a great admirer of Pomeranian coinage himself. His coin collection was auctioned off in Berlin in 2013. This does not mean, however, that he has lost his interest in the topic. He actively supported Manfred Olding in the preparation of the catalog.

First of all, let us take a look at the monetary history and the history of coinage written by Joachim Krüger. It covers the period of time between the earliest medieval strikings from around 1170 and the extinction of the Griffin dynasty with the death of Bogislaw XIV in 1654. Spanning almost 40 pages and despite of the lack of figures (it would have made more sense to incorporate the maps of the catalog section here), the well-written text makes for interesting reading. Providing many details, it is a marvelous illustration of the historical background to the catalog. To mention one example: the history of the joint minting of the pfennig on the part of Pomerania and Pomerania-Wolgast, about which the cities of Stralsund, Greifswald, Anklam, and Demmin complained so bitterly during the 1597 ‘Frankfurter Münzprobationstag‘ of the Upper Saxon Circle. On the basis of analyses of archival material, the author neatly proves that, contrary to what is often said in the literature, the dukes of Pomerania-Wolgast in fact never minted in Stettin. On the other hand, there is firm evidence of a mint located in the ducal seat of Wolgast. There are also sound arguments for minting taking place in Barth. 

The catalog is a type catalog, arranged according to rulers. Divided according to metals, the catalog proceeds in chronological order within the rulers, making it quite easy to find every piece. With its lavish illustrations, the catalog can also be accessed by readers whose mother tongue is not German. One or another interesting piece of information hidden in the notes may escape these readers, though (but there is always Google Translate to resort to). 

Detailed reference to literature and locations conclude the work that deserves a place in any well-stocked special library on German numismatics. And so we can only hope that this fruitful collaboration between Joachim Krüger and Manfred Olding will be followed up by many similar projects. 

You can order the book directly with the Gietl Verlag.

Manfred Olding’s book on the coinage of the Kingdom of Prussia was the subject of this CoinsWeekly article.

Please find the coin shop of Manfred Olding here.

Joachim Krüger is working at the Pomeranian State Museum and currently prepares the exhibition “Luthers Norden”, scheduled for 2017.

A list of his publications can be found here.

His PhD thesis with the title “Die landesherrliche Münzprägung im Herzogtum Pommern und in Schwedisch-Pommern in der frühen Neuzeit (ca. 1580-1715)“, published in 2006, can be bought for 29.90 euros here.