On November 25, 1120, The security of the Norman Kings of England suffered a significant blow. The only legitimate son and heir to King Henry I, William "Audelin," died at sea in what has become known as 'The White Ship Disaster.' Historian W.L. Warren likened the White Ship to the Titanic of its day. The loss of the ship, the heir to the English throne, plus numerable noble heirs would set in motion a series of events which would effect both England and France.
Manuscript page illuminating Henry I's line and his descendants being interrupted by the White Ship Disaster. Photo, and an interesting piece about the White Ship taken from Medievalist.net
With Henry losing his heir, he attempted to ensure the loyalty of the nobles of England to his daughter, Matilda. Matilda had essentially been raised at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, and was...
A recent trip to Israel got me interested in researching some of the numismatic history of the region. I acquired the excellent coin shown below from @red_spork after my attempts to import a similar example were thwarted at customs. Long Post Warning!
Obverse: Paleo-Hebrew inscription in wreath; Greek letter alpha above
Reverse: Double cornucopia with a pomegranate between horns
Coinage has a long history in Judea dating back to the time of the Persian Empire when a Jewish mint was allowed to operate with the permission of Persian officials. Many of the earliest coins of this period are imitations of other common Mediterranean types such as the Persian “Archer” and the Athenian “Owl” . These coins often bear the letters “YHD” (Yehud=Judah) and contain local design elements such as the pomegranate or lily to refer to Judah or Jerusalem. Later, under Greek control, the region minted...
What if I told you that you could hold a medal that was responsible for igniting the passion that enflamed the passions of so many citizens that it brought their countries into WWI?
On May 07, 1915, the German Navy committed arguably Germany’s biggest strategic failures in WWI: the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. International outrage grew as word spread that the ship was sank without warning, killing 1,198 passengers and crew, 128 of which were Americans. To add to this, Karl Goetz, German medalist and sculpture, created a satirical medal in August 1915. His intent was to embarrass the Cunard Line and British Government for allowing a passenger ship to cross hostile waters. The intended effect backfired and the medal inspired other nations to join the war effort in support of Great Britain.
Since I am trying to be better read on the coins themselves and not just the history, I've been making an effort to read more coin related books. I know few here specifically collect medieval coins, but in case anyone decided to venture down this rabbit hole they might appreciate my thoughts on some of the literature out there. Or feel free to ignore it - I do this for myself anyway
Torongo, Paul A. Collecting Medieval Coins: A Beginner's Guide. Self Published, 2013.
Paul Torongo attempted to do the nearly impossible by writing a book on how to collect Medieval Coins. Torongo's book certainly is for the beginner, as many of the basics of coins itself are covered. This is fine in and of itself, but there are numerous problems and difficulties with using the book. Organization seems to be Torongo's nemesis. The order of the contents lacks direction, the reasoning for the inclusion of many coins is...
As a self-proclaimed “Large Cent junkie”, I love to study and learn about the early Large Cents of our country. It occurred to me that I didn’t have a thorough working knowledge of one of the most famous coins from our new US Mint from 1793. With the power of the internet at my fingers, my journey began. I thought I might share some of my newfound knowledge for those of you who may not be as familiar with this stuff and love to learn new things!
As most numismatists know, the Coinage Act of April 2, 1792 began the establishment of the first official Mint for the newly declared “United States of America”. I knew that this act spelled out some basic rules of the new Mint such as where it was to be built, what positions were needed to run it, what needed to be on the coins for design, etc… What I didn’t know is that this act only spelled out the rules for the SILVER DOLLAR! It wasn’t until May 8, 1792, that the “Act to provide for a Copper coinage” was signed into place by George...
This World War I trench art love token on a French franc cost me $37.03, so I posted it in the "post your purchase under $50" thread. But I thought it deserved its own thread, so I'm reposting it here.
World War I love token on 1916 French franc, from a fallen Canadian soldier to his mother
Larger obverse picture
Larger reverse picture
Host coin: 1916 French 1-franc piece, KM844.1, .835 silver/.1342 oz., 23 mm. Obverse: original French "Sower" design, unaltered. Reverse: "1 Franc" and olive branch planed off, date and legends intact, re-engraved "Bertha / V. Shaver /...
This was the order given by King Henry I in 1125. Specifically, they should each "lose their right hand and be castrated."1 According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Bishop Roger of Salisbury rounded up the moneyers in the city of Winchester and carried out the grizzly order. Henry actually had a history of difficulty with the mints of England. Around 1108, Henry ordered that all coins from the mint should be 'snicked;' cut or mutilated before leaving the mint.2 The coins in circulation were being cut to test their purity, and this caused many to not accept the coins, since portions were cut off and made the coins a lesser weight. Henry's solution was for the creation of round half-pennies, and for every full penny to come pre-cut.
Henry I meets with envoys from France. Picture from a BBC History Extra Article...
Hey Folks, I need your help with a project I am working on for the Smithsonian Numismatic Collection. The resulting display (note: it will get carted out and be presented with a docent) will allow children and the visually impaired to learn about US coins, hold large examples in their hand, and have fun. The exhibit is also intended to be shipped to schools for the visually impaired in order to allow for those who cannot get to the Smithsonian to have access to the coins.
What do I need from you? I need very specific descriptions of the obverse and reverse of coins. When I say specific, I mean down to the number of diamonds and feathers on the IHC. The idea is that a visually impaired person can read your description and trace their fingers along the coin and follow along. Most visually impaired folks only understand our denominations based on the size and weight of the coin as the designs are too small to be felt. (Imagine the only way you could look at the coin was with closed eyes...
This ca. 1300-1310 Long Cross silver penny of Edward I "Longshanks" was the first coin I found on my 2013 metal detecting trip to England.
The pictures are just... OK. Considering my utter inexperience, I'm pleased with how they turned out. I finally upgraded to a dSLR camera, and these were the very first photos I took with it (not counting two unusable shots).
The focus, particularly on the reverse, is not optimal, but this was a first attempt.
Note the king's piggy little nose in this portrait. Medieval coin portraiture of monarchs in this era was, as many of you know, often more cartoonish than realistic. Not until the Tudor period in the mid-1500s did realistic portraits of kings like fat ol' Henry VIII again begin to appear on coins.
Hi all, it's been a while since I've posted around here. College has been my primary focus these past 3 years, so much of my collecting has been on-hold. That being said, I was able to acquire an exceedingly rare numismatic item recently, the Washington Success Token (small size). Honestly, not much is known about this coin. On the front it depicts a portrait of George Washington along with his name, and on the reverse it depicts the all-seeing eye, surrounded by the phrase "Success to the United States".
Numismatic historians disagree on the origin if this coin. Some say it was made to celebrate the 2nd inauguration of George Washington and was produced sometime in the mid 1790s. Others believe the item to be a gambling token from the late 1800s. From my (nowhere near professional) research on the item, I believe the former theory is more accurate, and for a few reasons.
1) The all-seeing eye motif was present on other US colonial coins around this time, such as the Nova...
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